Today I said a phrase I never imagined would have to leave my mouth, “I think this has been my favourite day of lockdown so far.” Very quickly life has took a George Orwell-esque turn for the worst and the ‘new normal’ seems oh so dreary. Yet today, a freedom I haven’t felt in weeks fell over me.
For the first day this week, I wasn’t crippled with worry. These past few days have been the hardest week of quarantine for me, as a member of my family was taken into hospital for a few days. The uselessness you feel being unable to comfort them, to take them the basic necessities, to hold their hand throughout the day, to hug the rest of my family who are paralysed with worry, to do something, to help. I’ve realised in the past year I’m a ‘get up and do something about it’ kind of worrier, a do-er, a be there even if I can’t do anything sort of person. Being stripped of that capability this week has been so hard.
Without oversharing I feel the need to put into words how I feel, knowing I’d never be able to say these out loud without crying. My Uncle isn’t just a family member. He’s not just my Mum’s brother, to me he’s one of the three part trio that helped my Mam raise me. He’s a quarter of the person I’ve formed into. He’s some of the quieter parts of me; he’s the silent wink of encouragement I’ve received my whole life, he’s the background defender who’s always fought on my side, he’s that always-tanned warmth I’ve constantly had by my side, he’s a father-figure I feel I’ve been lucky to share with my cousin and one of the most genuinely kind people anyone would be lucky to know. He’s another one of my family members who says aloud every statement that he thinks, which involuntarily triggers you to laugh (a laugh which he usually doesn’t understand how he’s caused), he doesn’t always understand the social cues of the things you can say to people, yet his love for my Auntie is indispensable and being surrounded by their relationship, although filled with back and forth, humorous bickering, brings you nothing but smiles. The strength they show each other with the day-in-day-out complications is always finished with a soft smile and a whole lot of love.
Knowing that he’s back home, full of don’t-you-be-worrying-about-me’s and ‘I’m absolutely smashing’ today has filled me with joy. Hearing the whisper of “I’m alright, flowerpot” come from his own mouth have never been such comforting words.
I woke up today being able to notice that the sun was actually shining. I went into the garden with my book in my hand, as I have done so many times in quarantine, prepared for the usual result; that after five minutes of forced reading I would give up, unable to concentrate and resort back to my phone. Instead, I ended up being able to sit comfortably, peacefully reading for hours. My mind for once not flooded with incessant concern but instead a happy lull, with space for the words on the pages to internally fit into my thoughts.
Today was one of the good days. Albeit rare at the moment, sometimes it’s nice to share that not all of these long, intertwined, never-ending days need to be filled with dread or tears. That after days of emptying the floodgates a stillness can take over and you can enjoy the moments too. At least for some time.