Mother’s Day and the Corona virus

I remember Mother’s Day as a small child. Every year my brothers and I would get up early, go downstairs into the kitchen and prepare a breakfast for my mother. It wasn’t much, toast with jam on, a bowl of cereal, a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice. We’d put it on a tray and take it upstairs, trying not to spill it everywhere. My mother was always so happy to see our little faces and chuffed that we had gone to the effort of treating her to breakfast in bed. And she always loved the homemade Mother’s Day card and present we’d made at school to give her on her special day. As we got older the homemade cards and presents made way for bought cards and boxes of chocolates or something smelly from the Body Shop. It might not have been as sentimental but the thought was still there. And breakfast in bed was replaced by a bigger challenge, one of epic proportions, Sunday dinner. Looking back now, it was the only Sunday in the whole year she could put her feet up instead of having to look after us. We even did the washing up. I think she quite enjoyed Mother’s Day.

In fact I think she still does quite enjoy it. My little brother might not be with us anymore as he sadly passed away, but my elder brother and myself still like to spoil her and make sure that she knows she is appreciated and loved. Although we might not tell her very often that we love her, Mother’s Day is the ideal opportunity to show her that we do. This year we had planned to go to the local pub, the White Swan, as they do great food there. However, due to the evolution of the Corona virus, advice started to come through that pubs and restaurants should be avoided – indeed they have now been forced to shut by the Government. As a result, we decided to go old-school and make her a Sunday dinner at home. But in the past week, we have heard time and time again the worrying message from the media that if your mother is over 70 years of age, you should not visit her on Mother’s Day. As they are at a higher risk of not surviving the virus, to reduce the possibility of infection, they should self-isolate and try to avoid contact with anybody.

Consequently, I had been unsure all week about whether to visit this Mother’s Day. At the start of the week I thought that, although slightly risky, I would probably still go and spend the day with her. But as the week progressed and the message became louder, not just on the news but through social media, I began to have serious doubts. By Friday I was still in two minds. One voice was telling me to not put her at risk, whilst the other was saying, ‘But how can I not visit my Mam on Mother’s Day?’ It was just unthinkable. However, yesterday, I finally came to the conclusion that I would have to stay away. It isn’t worth it and, besides, there is not just my mother to think about, but my father as well. He is 91 and even more vulnerable. My chances of having the virus might be very slim as I have been having little or no contact with others. However, I was in the supermarket the other day and I was obviously close to people. How can I really know that I definitely don’t have it? The advice is there for a reason and we cannot be ignorant of it. To stay away on Mother’s Day is an act of love. I don’t want my mother to die and I certainly do not want to be the one responsible for her death.

It may sound extreme to put it this way but we are living in extreme times. The longer we ignore the pleas from the Government to practice social distancing or, better yet, self-isolation, the longer and more deadly this invisible enemy will be with us. We can be under no illusion that it will not just be on Mother’s Day that we have to keep away from our elderly parents. We are in this for the long-haul. It has been stated that it could be another three months before we see a reduction in the number of cases and deaths. We have to stop burying our collective head in the sand. We have to start acting like responsible adults. For many of us, the Corona virus may not seem very real. In the North East of England, for example, we haven’t been hit hard and death hasn’t reached our doorsteps. However, the situation is escalating at a scary rate in London. And we only have to look at the death tolls in Italy, Spain and now France for a taste of things to come. This thing is real and it is deadly, especially for older folk.

If you love your mother, stay away this Mother’s Day. There will always be next year.

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