Don't leave anyone behind - A view of Donegal through the coronavirus crisis and beyond by Siobhán McNamara

Wednesday March 25, 2020

Don't leave anyone behind - A view of Donegal through the coronavirus crisis and beyond by Siobhán McNamara

Reach out to those who are frightened and alone during Covid-19 lockdown

Everything feels a lot more serious today. 

It is as if it’s really beginning to sink in how contagious and widespread Covid -19 is; as if the last few weeks have only been preparation for where we are now.

People have had time to stock up on store cupboard essentials. Community supports are in place, to the huge credit of all the volunteers involved. Those who are being laid off work know that there is a reasonable level of financial support available. 

Our sense of what is normal continues to change almost daily.  We have gone from empty supermarket shelves a week ago to orderly queuing two metres apart to get into Lidl and other major stores. 

Always something of a tactile shopper, I find it quite a challenge to resist the urge to touch items on shelves. I have to remember not to pick up three or four melons before deciding which one I want, nor to root through the box of bananas to find that perfectly ripened bunch. But I stick to the new rules, and remind myself to act at all times as if I am the one carrying the virus and I must not pass it on to anybody else. It helps me to remember not to stick my hand into that box of bananas!

Only the most essential shops and services remain open now - doctors, pharmacists, groceries, post offices, petrol stations and garages. Everybody has been asked to stay home if at all possible.

Yes, there is still a feeling that it is all a bit surreal, but we are as ready as we are going to be for what is to come. 

I find myself thinking of something my children told me that they had learned in school - that you know a tsunami is coming because all the water on the beach disappears, sucked back to add to the force of what is to come. When you see that happen, you should get to higher ground. 

It feels as if the beach devoid of water is like the stripping away of everything we took for granted, and the preparations of the last two weeks have been our ‘getting to higher ground.’

What we really need to do now is focus on those who are alone, or who don’t cope well with change, who live their lives on shaky ground even on good days. A phone call or a text message asking if they are OK and letting them know you are there could make a huge difference.

As we wait for what is to come - or for what is here already to reach its full force - we need to make sure no-one is left behind. If someone is struggling, reach out and take them by the hand - metaphorically speaking, of course!

Read Next: Don't forget to move! - A view of Donegal during the coronavirus crisis and beyond by Siobhán McNamara

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