When that I was and a little tiny boy, in my home town of Harrogate, I lived in a cu-de-sac whose fifteen houses mostly had children. So I gre up playing with them all in a quiet street. When I was a bit older a new family moved into the road; an older and his sister. I was that bit older so I don’t think we played together as much, but I remember his family settled into the road and his parents became friends with mine. My main memory of him, was when for some reason (and I have no memory of why), he jumped out of the first floor window, intending to land on the porch roof below, but for some reason must have jumped to far and missed the roof, ending up on ground floor level. He must have broken something but I can’t remember.
I left the road for university, and later so did the brother and sister. When Mum and Dad were in decline, their Mum kept in touch. Her husband had died some years back, and she was alone in the house. I hadn’t seen her for years but went up one time to say hello, and let her know about Mum and Dad. I mentioned my memory of the famous jump and her face froze. Of course it had never crossed my mind the impact on the parents of their child having an accident. I think he had been all right but she said she had never forgotten it.
Her daughter is a solicitor and her son is a top NHS consultant. My brother contacted me to say that she had phoned him and told him her son had Covid-19. I rang her. He is a top specialist but had been working “front-line” in A&E. She said he had been at home, but had been ill, and possibly had picked up another virus on top of coronavirus. She sounded cheerful but I knew she must be frantic. He had been in isolation at home of course, and his colleagues had been leaving him food on the doorstep.
She said what I had been thinking: this virus is striking down the professionals who care for the rest of us. There is no one to replace them. I have no imagination as to what it must be like in hospitals right now. It is all very well the Government saying the NHS has coped, but this is no where near over. How do these people keep going? There is no one to give them respite when things calm down. They will have to keep working.
I asked a friend of mine today how she is as she hadn’t posted much on Instagram. She said: I just don’t know what to post on it at the moment. Everything seems so trivial and all I’m doing is living.
We may be in this all together, but we are living through it in such deeply different ways.