I feel so torn with everything that’s going on at the moment. But there is one place where I feel particularly torn - Grandparents. Over the last year most grandparents have missed out on valuable time with their grandchildren. For many, seeing the younger members of their family is what gives them joy, life, vitality and health. It makes them feel young again. If we have our main source of joy taken away from us, what does that do to our mental and physical health?
I understand why we are being told not to visit our families. We are compassionate human beings. We care deeply for those who feel vulnerable and want to do everything we can to make them feel loved and safe. The thing worrying me is that, for all the vulnerable people I know, there is one thing they need more than EVER right now and that’s face-to-face connection, human-to-human companionship, a hug, a laugh, a sing song, a dance. Hiding from a virus isn’t making them feel loved or safe.
If you had the choice of doing something hugely enjoyable which would give you a small risk of dying, over something that is intensely depressing but might reduce your risk of dying, which one would you choose? Which is worse, the risk of dying from a virus, or the risk of having long term mental health problems caused by the stress and trauma from feeling isolated, lonely and depressed? I don’t know the answer to these questions. But are we factoring in the knock on consequences of being away from loved ones enough?
This is a photograph of my Dad. After spending years asking for grandchildren, in the last three years he’s been given the gift of four! Sadly, with the youngest two arrivals, he’s barely had the chance to get to know them. A few days here and there, and often feeling like we need to be at a safe distance.
I really feel for Grandparents at the moment. I find myself wondering whether our actions today are making them feel better or worse. What do you think?