I have just accepted all the lock-downs and restrictions of COVID but in the last few days have come to understand just how heartbreaking this can be for families. The separation, the inability to touch on another, the lack of being able to to there.
My neighbours, Simon and Jane have become good friends since we moved to the island. Simon was a retired academic from Oxford University in England and he and Jane married after they had nursed their former partners until they passed. Both had had long and difficult illnesses and both had grown children from their previous marriages. Simon and I would have long discussions on literature, music, life in Norfolk and other shared interests. They would host music concerts in the breeze way of their house which were lively and enjoyable.
Even the bird-life would turn up to take part.
At the gate of their house they have a seagull sitting on the fence to welcome you.
At the beginning of 2020 Simon was diagnosed with a terminal illness and as the borders were closed he was unable to travel back home and his children could not come here. We still kept up our conversations as I have watched his health deteriorate. He had been a man who was involved in life. When our friend published a children's story book he dressed up as a wizard and had the children enchanted with his reading. He really looked the part with his long white hair.
All those little faces, spellbound.
Even the statues seemed to be listening.
Yesterday he died. He was unable to return home, unable to see his family, unable to get a zoom connection to see and talk to them. He was able to get a phone connection so did get to say good bye at least, but my heart aches for him and his daughters, not being able to return home and see and touch them.
I will always see him playing his banjo, with his cap that he always wore.
Now the seagull at the gate wears the cap.
R.I.P. my friend.