Bill’s story: Our experience of loss and lockdown

Posted on: 9th September 2020

Liver transplant recipient, Bill, was shielding with his wife during lockdown. In this blog, he shares how his positive attitude helped him to deal with the loss of his sister and a friend. 

"When lockdown looked inevitable we started a week early. My son, a key worker, moved out, so we had final cuddles with our family and shut the door. I received my letter telling me I must shield, we then arranged for friends and family to do our shopping for us.

"We soon realised this would be longer than a fortnight. But kept our normal optimistic attitude and started to list the jobs that we could catch up on over that period.

"My wife took on the role of disinfection nurse on ANYTHING that came into the home. I soon stopped my newspaper as it turned into tissue paper!

"We both continued our work from home, mine, as a Councillor, involved hours on 'Teams' and 'Zoom'. As a cabinet member I also covered mutual aid in Buckinghamshire by both our officers and local businesses in Bucks so was very busy. So with this and, thank God, the garden, I have never had a dull moment.

"All went well until my eldest sister fell ill in Devon, then contracted Covid and sadly died. In the same week my best friend was diagnosed with a tumour on the brain and died a few days later.

"That’s when we were at our lowest. We watched both the funerals on-stream, with our son and daughter who had formed a 'bubble', watching from the summerhouse. The stream finished and there we sat totally drained of our emotions but with no extended family as you normally get at these times to reminisce and remember old times with them both.

"The world then seemed strange and divorced from reality, it will take a long time to really get over their loss in our lives. To both Sue and myself that’s when it all truly hit home.

"Now that shielding has paused, we have gone out to have haircuts even drove out into the countryside to see the outside world but we didn’t get out of the car. It’s not because our confidence has been shattered but we're ‘just being careful’.

"I now wear my social distancing lanyard which gives me an air of safety.

"Have we lost five months?  No, we have had the chance to redefine our priorities and now value life and families in a much more realistic and sensible way. It has re-established what are our real priorities and what are no more than luxuries.

"What we miss more than anything is the love and cuddles you get from children and grandchildren.

"P.S. When I am ill for any reason (like breaking my leg last Christmas), friends say 'Are you ill again, Bill?' I retort 'you can only be ill if you are alive'. That, to people like us, is a bonus.

"Keep smiling!"