It’s Christmas Eve and it doesn’t feel quite like it.
I’ve been practicing breathing exercises I heard a psychologist recommend on the radio the other day as a way of dealing with the uncertainty that the scary rise in Covid cases is giving rise to in the last few days. Breathing slowly and deliberately does help to tone down the anxiety in what seems like a very fragile situation. It looks like we are set for a very heavy lockdown, yet again, as the virus sweeps the country. The ‘break’ to allow Christmas to have some sort of normality associated with it has been pulled back a lot and seems like it is destined to be pulled back further.
My heart goes out to people who are lonely, fearful and miserable tonight and to all the people who are working in hospitals and care homes trying their very best to care for people who are being ravaged by the virus. I know many families who are all split up and also people who have been separated from their elderly relatives for months on end. There are no easy answers, that’s for sure.
Meanwhile, Ireland has heaved a sigh of relief today as the United Kingdom and European Union finally, finally agreed a Withdrawal Deal which will offset some of the worst effects of Brexit on our little country here on the edge of Europe. It’s still unclear exactly how it will all pan out but, at least, it looks like we will be spared mega tariffs and huge problems in relation to trading with our nearest neighbour.
And all the while, I have been haunted today by memories of the great balladeer, Liam Clancy, who I was fortunate enough to see in concert a couple of times. He was some character and the song that has been playing under the surface today is The Dutchman as I remember hearing him sing it with immense feeling here in Waterford during one of his final concerts.
It brings me to the love and connection that can exist when dementia enters a relationship. So many of our most vulnerable older people who have been caught up in the Covid situation have dementia and I really feel tonight and every night for couples who find themselves separated after long years spent together.
Christmas Eve is a night when one cannot but think of one’s parents and tonight I remember so many precious Christmases shared with my late mother and father who I was fortunate enough to have until they were 89 and 91 respectively ( and living just around the corner from me.) They are happily in my heart tonight and I think of them not with sadness but with great love and appreciation.