Reflecting on coronavirus is a pastime for many people. Now the government have dedicated a day to it.
What is the National Day of Reflection?
March 23rd is a National Day of Reflection on the Pandemic for the bereaved, for the victims, and I hope, for those who sacrificed months of their lives.
I was one of those front line staff for much of it. Care home management is difficult – during a pandemic it is nigh on impossible. I was deputy manager. I was already stressed before the unthinkable hit.
What do I reflect upon?
The exhaustion etched on the faces of colleagues as they gave more and more to the elderly people in their care. The strength as they fended off the concerns of their own families. The fear as they looked at their own parents and children and wondered each day if they had brought them a death sentence. And I often reflect upon their exasperated pain as they were branded as cruel and inhuman by a media who jumped on the wrong bandwagon.
Claims that elderly people were locked away in their rooms, caged like animals were probably correct; because we were TOLD we had to! It was not the home’s choice. Were the residents neglected…left to die…ignored…starved…NO! We did our best to stay and chat from behind the masks and aprons. Yet still we stood accused of not caring.
The phone message was full of foul language and vile sentiments…and I sent it to my boss!
It was possibly one of the best things I have ever done.
A common enough mistake
Chances are, most of us have done something like this – written a few snide comments about someone in a group email then pressed “reply all” or sent a gossipy phone message to the person it was about rather than our bitching partner.
It is not nice, it adds to office tensions as gossip and cliques make everyone nervous about whether they are in the popular crowd. I have honestly always tried to avoid being part of such groups.
So why did I do it?
Let me explain:
I was on the last day of my holiday. I was in a restaurant and I had turned my phone off. A lovely relaxing end to my break.
This is a rant from someone who was on the front line during 2020 – not the NHS front line but the disposable, underrated Care Home front line.
There were many stories of “cruelty” in Care Homes during the pandemic. Cruelty?? Things were overlooked and standards dropped at times during the panic and fear. But I seriously doubt that there was deliberate cruelty.
I am naive maybe…
But if there was any “cruelty”, it was how front line Care Home staff were treated.
Everyone suffered during the coronavirus outbreak. One way or another, everyone has something to look back on and say “I hated that”.
A great deal of news air-time was reporting the plight of elderly people imprisoned in care home bedrooms. And the deep distress of their relatives who were refused entry.
People demanded that the government forced care homes to throw open their doors and allow relatives to visit their depressed and lonely parents.
I was part of that. I was one of the wicked, cruel, inhuman care home staff who locked elderly in their rooms and refused to show them the light of day.
It feels like a piece of me is lost Though the picture is fine on the box; But when someone cares enough to put me together They’ll see a piece of me is lost forever. Then every time they look at me The missing piece is all they’ll see
What is a Pilgrimage? It is more than a long walk to an old place! Let’s find out why…
What is a pilgrimage?
To go on a pilgrimage is to travel to a shrine or sacred site, usually completing the final miles on foot. It is to pass along a path to a place of devotional, spiritual significance.
But is that all there is to it? Is the destination the only goal? Is the only motivation simply to arrive?
What about the actual journey?
The pilgrimage IS the journey. It speaks to the pilgrim of who he is, shows him his inner most self. The journey gives the pilgrim the chance to intimately consider his path thus far and to consider and reconsider his next steps. It gives him the space and peace to seek the spiritual nature of life and to commune with it, seeking a deeper understanding of the divine. It allows him to see and accept what is of the soul and what is not – what he can leave along the way.
Writing lines that will never be read,
Words tumbling and jostling around in my head,
A lyric named "what I wish I had said - but I didn't."
Hearing a song that no one will sing,
That elusive tune only silence can bring,
Wishing I'd sung it like a bird on the wing - but I didn't.
Binding a book whose leaves won't be turned,
A story of flying but my feathers got burned,
I should have grown from the lessons I learned - but I didn't.
Painting my life but the bristles have dried,
Safe behind a blank canvas I hide,
Should I have risked some colour before my dreams all died?
Seems I didn't.
Could have told others my story but why would they care
So I've left it all shrouded, only I was there,
Could have put it on Facebook for a like and a share -
But I didn't.
I sang like a bird alone on a cloud,
I read that book but never out loud.
Could have shared my painting with the everyday crowd.
But I didn't .
Parys Mountain in Anglesey, Wales. The remains of a mountain whose innards contained minerals and metals mankind wanted. Her inner beauty lies exposed to the elements.
Overly romantic? Yeah, I know! What can I tell you…I’m a poet!
She stood, proud against the sea blown gales, her heart forged in the melting pot of a chaotic planet. The Mountain. She held secrets, secrets given to her as the world was formed around her. Secrets which rose her head high above the land. Secrets she held inside throughout time, holding them close, guarding them as a mother swaddling her firstborn. Until they came! Until a man dug into her skin and, in that first cut, exposed her riches, her beauty, her secret. She proudly proclaimed "See my wondrous colours! Marvel at my body!" Oh they saw! Then they came... They came in their hundreds. Swarming! Smashing! Destroying! Taking her apart, rock by coloured rock, Digging, boring, scraping, taking - taking - taking. Even as she died, her arteries were alive with the industry of her murderers. Her veins throbbing as they dug and carried her away, Until only a great chasm remained where her heart had been, And she was drawn and quartered for the crime of containing what men wanted. Then sated, they left. And she died again - for they took their beating hearts along with hers. They took their lifeblood along with hers And left her with nothing bar scars, For on her exposed belly, little would grow, little could live. They left her with nothing save the secret which had killed her, The beauty a macabre autumnal shroud - her colours shouting their agony in silence, Screaming their anger voicelessly in the wind. Yet justice will not be hers, For she is no more.