A year on from March 23rd 2020 I look back in reflection of all the changes. changes in society, changes within my family and changes within me.
The loss and death of my mother
By the first lockdown I had lost my mother, two weeks prior, and march 23rd 2020 was the afternoon of her funeral. due to the pending lockdown, 3 hours after her funeral service began the U.K. was entering into a national lockdown. Due to this hardly anyone attended her funeral, which was hard to see and feel. as a small family we had very few people that day to hold us up, no hugs were allowed. due to covid we were not allowed to carry her coffin, as we had wanted, we weren't even allowed to touch her coffin. all the things that help with grief. we saw it as the last physical connection with my mother and it was not allowed.
The service was rushed, a little as lockdown was nearing. we weren't allowed to hold a church service nor wake. After the funeral service LOCKDOWN.
The day after my mothers funeral I went to work. I began walking the 2 miles as to stay off of public transport and the time was actually a time where I could let the tears flow. My home was a home of grief and my family were going through their own grieving. Being a mother I felt I had to be strong for my family where feeling strong wasn't the true reality of how I felt.
I was sad, lonely, angry and found myself without any friends or family for comfort or support, physically. My friends did call and text and I appreciate that. However, that soon dwindled as they were coming to terms with their life in lockdown.
This National lockdown in the UK was the first for us all. We have never individuall nor societally experienced anything like this before.The nation fell silent as the majority stayed home in their bid to save lives and to disturb the transmission and spread of this new virus.
Essntial Retail Worker
I worked between two workplaces mostly as people self isolated or became unwell or a lot were to frightened to go to work, within the Essential Retail sector. Going to work helped to distract me away from my grief and sadness for a time. Where before I was a social butterfly always out and about with various frinds and my partner I felt the need for physical conversation and that became mainly with customers. I offered the same source of comfort for them as they told me of their sadness and loneliness of being separated from their family and friends.
After a few weeks I began doing my own research on viruses and our immune systems and was quickly becoming a dab hand at what foods and supplements boosted the body's immune system. Even how our emotions be they positive or negativwe actually affect the way our immune systems work. How very beneficial exercise was for our body's and now for our mental health.
Turning 50 years
My 50th birthday celebrations were in the planning for a year. Luckily, I already decided not to celebrate in a venue but to hold a House Party. My partner is a DJ , my sister is a great cook and I have lots of friends and family ready to celebrate with me. As my birthday was 6 months after the announced lockdown we all thought by the autumn full society restrictions would be lifted. I had hope as restrictions were being eased however by the date of my birthday the rule of 6 was no longer in effect. So I celebrated with my household. My friends were amazing and sent lovely gifts through the post and via the phone and they still did what they could to help make it as special as it could be.
My partner and I had decided on a 2021 wedding however due to all what was happening we decided in July to get married in the November, as there were no family birthdays in that month. Weddings were going ahead with 30 guests so we compiled our family list and selected a few close friends. We had contacted our church and booked our date November 21st at 12pm. We had given our notice at the regisrty office. By the end of October it soon became apparant that November 5th were were heading into a month national lockdown to save Christmas. The bishop of the church contacted me saying the church building was to close and weddings were cancelled from November 5th. Devestated was hardly accurate enough to describe how I felt. It was feeling like everything was being taken away from me. My family, my friends, my pland and dreams. Novemeber 3rd the church registrar contacted early in the morning and suggested we ask the Bishop if he would conduct a marriage cereomony the next evening. It was a long shot, especially as our wedding licence wasn't ready until the morning of Novemeber 4th. That phone call gave me hope, gave me excitement. All I had to do was speak to my partner and the Bishopand pick up the marriage licences! Within 36 hours we were standing at the alter with 15 in attendance, some family rushed up from 40 miles away to attend. My dearest and longest friend who owns Together Forever Brides drove the dress up to me. My hair was done that morning by lovely sisters I'd never met before and they did an amazing job. I did my make up and two church friends decorated the part of the church we were allowed to use. It was beautiful and inimate and am forever grateful to all who helped make our wedding happen. We got married four hours before the November lockdown. Our honeymoon for 2021 was cancelled however we will be celebrating in England.
A goal set
Reading books from start to finish isn't one of my strengths. So inspired by a friend from my teenage years who I am very proud of, Patrick Hutchinson, who was at the Black Lives Matter march in the summer of lockdown and carried a a counter protester to safety. He wrote a book called Everyone vs racism and I told him that I would set myself a goal and to finish reading his book by the end of lockdown. I am very pleased to say I have finished it!!!!
Allowing My Greatness
As I reflect I see an amazing and eventful year. A year of uncertainty with miracles. A year o
f sadness with happiness and joy and new beginnings. A year of resisting against the changes in society due to a pandemic. When I say allowing my greatness I mean allowing me to still grow amongst grief, sadness and loneliness. allowing my greatness as the blessings and opportunites were still happening for me. For allowing me to see differently. For allowing my greatness of health and my life still progressing and moving forward with marriage and becoming part of a new family. All while restrictions were being implemented my greatness was still happening. Allowing me to experience some extreme times in the same year. It has been hard emotionally, not just gor me but my husband as he supports me in grief and the progressing of our marriage and blending our families. Allowing me to get to know myself without the distractions of going out but to really learn to get to know me and to rest and to appreciate who I am. I never really had he time to do this before. Allowing me to serve within my community via online or still taking food and clothes to a homelss charity. Allowing me to make changes from the way I imagined how they'd be and still accomplishing them. That was hard because I am a woman who knows what she wants. So I have had to really dig deep and find my joy in the moment. To research reality and what it really is and does it even exist?
From social distancing to seeing everyone in masks wasn't nice. Everywher and everyone telling me to be safe, stay safe I saw illness all around just by peoples actions. I had to quickly rationalise this and see it as a pivotal moment where society is changing. Did I feel out of control? Absolutely. What I saw as freedoms like socialising with friends and family to travelling abroad were no longer lawful. Within a few days our lives and society had changed forever. Shops and businesses closed, the usual hustle and bustle gone. The atmoshphere was sombre as I guess the whole nation fell into their own grieving of the loss of their lives.
I cannot let this blog end without paying respects to George Ffloyd and his family. This part of society has to change. Black men especially being murdered by the very uniform that is suppossed to protect and serve. We need as humanity to address the racist culture and system that was built to oppress people and rebuild it with equality and fairness for all.
I beleive in humanity and the power of one individual (Nelson Mandela). Our society will evolve and change and we have no control over that but what we do have control over is how we and myself choose to deal with this. Life will go on that is for certain. I have vowed through this pandemic to appreciate the birds singing, my time, my greatness, my family, my husband, my health and to continue with my dreams even though they'll have to be adjusted.
Keep Shining Bright
Much Love Tre, You Shine Brightest- Life-Stylist