It's OK to be sad or scared but it's OK to be happy too - daily column by Siobhán McNamara

A view of Donegal through the coronavirus crisis and beyond - Sunday, March 29

A virtual coffee morning was a lovely way to connect with friends

A virtual coffee morning was a lovely way to connect with friends

A dry and sunny spring day such as today would normally have carried with it a feeling of optimism, and to a certain degree, it did.

We had moved to Irish Summer Time overnight, so we began the day having ‘sprung forward.’ 

The birds are in full song and the first blossoms can be seen on the fruit trees. Daffodils and other spring flowers are in full bloom.

But with so many people observing lockdown and not leaving the house, it is never too far from our thoughts that we are in the middle of a crisis.

Then came the news this evening that a further 16 people died from Covid-19 across the island of Ireland, three of them in the north west. A big reality check, a sad day for 16 families in Ireland, and countless more around the world.

Now more than ever we need to do the right thing, to observe lockdown, to reduce the spread of the virus. But that comes with other challenges, like learning how to embrace the simpler pleasures of life in the wake of sadness and worry.

It’s OK to feel sad or worried. And it is also OK to feel uplifted by a dawn chorus, by the satisfaction of a few hours gardening or by precious family moments that would not have happened without the lockdown.

It was a pleasure today to be joined by family and friends for a virtual coffee morning. It started off as an idea to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society after their Daffodil Day was cancelled. But I knew from the outset that it was the opportunity to connect with people that was most important. 

Meeting friends for a coffee is one of the many things that we took for granted, and one of the things I miss the most. But like so much else, we can find a new way of doing things, and new ways of staying connected. We just need to keep sight of each other and to keep looking outward.

Read next: Join me for a virtual cuppa - a view of Donegal through coronavirus and beyond by Siobhán McNamara

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