Tag Archives: Covid 19

Bereavement, Reflection and Moving Back into the World

Bereavement

There are those touched by this pandemic in a way which will live with them for the rest of their lives;

there are those who have really struggled with the isolation and it has adversely affected their mental well being,

and there are others who have sailed through and managed to ‘get on with life’ quite cheerfully throughout.

Of course there is overlap too.

Sometimes I think it is hard for each group to appreciate the other’s situation.

I have been overwhelmed by the love and sympathy from friends, family and the wider community of Kinghorn when my Mum became ill and my father died of Covid back on 10th January.

Normal life ceased.

Dad died at 93 years old. He had been retired for longer than he worked, he had enjoyed a good healthy life, dancing and travelling with Mum until two years ago…. and the end was thankfully very quick. He didn’t suffer too much so we were told.

Mum is still unwell, but she is being well cared for and we can speak to her on Zoom and phone (which we could rarely do when she was in hospital.) That’s all I can ask until, hopefully, I will see her again.

Reflection

My writing life ceased, although I continued with obligations for others when I could. Certainly at a slower pace.

…but my Dad wouldn’t have wanted me to wallow.

On reflection, two days before Dad  passed away, my last conversation with him was so positive. Looking back, he was thinking of me and the wider family and not himself.

‘You are happy up in Fife?’ he asked.

‘You’ve got a good life there, haven’t you?’

As I stood looking out over the Firth of Forth, as a container ship floated into my line of vision, I remarked, ‘I wish you were standing here with me Dad.’

At the end of our conversation I told him I loved him. Not something I have said very often in my whole life.

Looking back, we were both saying goodbye, and that is a comfort.

Moving On

Neither Dad nor Mum would want me to wallow anymore though.

As well as supporting other authors, part of my psyche is to create, to write and to let the words and ideas flow, later moulding them into  a form just right for sharing.

I hope to begin to focus on my projects again.

And so, slowly but surely, I will return to a ‘real’ world. Not the ‘normal’ before lockdown, but a different normal, building my confidence to be part of the writing community once more.

  Mum and Dad with us on Guernsey only   Three Years ago

 

What am I going to do in my writing life in the next few months?

  • Continue writing my current project ~ another Mystery Inspired by History
  • Publish a little book of encouragement for your adults, needing support finding direction on life following this pandemic
  • Get together poems I have written in the last few months about dementia
  • Promote my two mysteries.

…and that, I think, is enough for now.

MURDER, Now and Then will be only 99p on Kindle from 22nd February to 1st March 2021

MISSING, Past and Present will be only 99p on Kindle from 1st to 8th March 2021

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Filed under Memoirs, Mystery inspired by history series, Writing

“Where there’s life there’s hope, and need of vittles.” ~ JR Tolkein

Download from quotefancy.com for wallpaper

I love this quote. It is almost a Pooh~ism!

As a writer I am always stirred by the generosity of spirit of people I meet in terms of giving time, effort and finances to support those in need. I also find stories of resilience and fortitude of folks heartwarming ~ how people are brought to rock bottom by their circumstances, often through no fault or action of their own, find the courage to rise up once more.

I particularly love the work of Emmaus, with so many wonderful stories of how the organisation has changed people’s lives by providing a purpose, work and community life and the chance to give something back.

This is what Micheal wrote:

“”Without Emmaus, I don’t think I would be around right now and it has given me a lifeline to a better future. I was first homeless at the age of seven with my mother and continued to be homeless on-and-off for nearly 20 years before finding Emmaus.”

To read Micheal’s full story please click on this link. Micheal’s Story

Unfortunately the virus has stalled a great deal of the usual work of Emmaus ~ their workshops, shops and delivery to name three areas, but the organisation has continued to support those in great need throughout. Emmaus is a UK wide organisation. There is almost certainly one near where you live. https://emmaus.org.uk/

It is people like Michael’s who inspired me to write Dot’s story in MISSING Past and Present. 

~ not only to write about the tragedy of circumstances that led to Dot’s homelessness, but also the network of support for her, once she was mentally at a point when she could accept help, because to do this and to ask takes a great deal of courage.

That is so apparent in the current crisis. People like to be independent and do not wish to be reliant on others, but once the step is taken it is such a relief to know that support is close by; overwhelming even.

Even closer to home I am sure you have noticed that there’s so much community spirit. It is certainly the case around here but I’m sure there are similar stories in the rest of the UK and even around the world, inspired by the needs provoked by Covid 19.

Locally there’s KSS, Kinghorn Support Squad, which if you read quickly looks like KISS ~ a lovely name. This support group was set up by our Provost about three years ago for those casual volunteers who did not want to join a group on a regular basis, but were happy to help out whenever they could. Examples of this was setting up and dismantling the furniture for the village show and also as Marshalls for the Black Rock Race.

Through this crisis this group have been stalwarts, available for food and medication drops and delivering letters and postcards explaining where folks can ask for help or arrange deliveries if they need it. In fact many, many more have volunteered to be part of KSS to become paet of the steering group, street coordinators and on hand to sort out local Foodbank drops if necessary. It is often the street coordinators who keep in touch with people locally and sort out any needs as they arise; a network ensuring that no person is missed or forgotten.

The church and the Lunch Club for the elderly have also been involved, as they always have, in ensuring everyone is safe and has someone to talk to and to help them.

In our neighbouring town of Burntisland BEAT has been established and their remit is quite wide, including  dog walking, providing toys for children in need and also food drops, organised through a central hub rather than the satellite approach of Kinghorn.

Each  way has been developed with the needs of the local communities in mind and show a resilience and caring attitude which prevails, whatever the circumstances.

The Kirkcaldy Foodbank continues with its support and although in the first few weeks the need grew exponentially and the provisions sourced from local supermarkets on a regular basis was scarce, they have continued to be the back bone in ensuring that no person locally goes hungry or lacks essential toiletries. In fact there has been a huge drive to give the Foodbank extra support through this time, both in terms of food and donations of money.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the need, like a vast almost impenetrable chasm, but Michael and Dot’s stories are uplifting and ensure that we are left with an overriding sense of HOPE.

 

 

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Filed under Events, Fife, MISSING Past and Present, Planning a novel, Research, Writing a novel

Big Issue Vendors ~ Have you ever wondered what happened to them?

SLOGAN: ‘A HAND UP, NOT A HAND OUT’

big issueI’m a great supporter of The Big Issue and enjoy the paper when I can get it. With high streets declining, the opportunities for selling must have been shrinking in recent times ~ and then came this Corona Virus. In this crisis it is the poorest in our society who are suffering most throughout the world, but The Big Issue are doing all they can to keep in touch and support their vendors as best they can.

How is the good work continuing?

By keeping in touch with their vendors with advice and support.

By direct payments to vendors to support them through this impossible situation.

They explain, “Together, it has been decided that payments to vendors is the most effective way to provide some financial relief to vendors across the country. Earlier in the lockdown, payments were made to just over 1,500 Big Issue vendors. Vendors will now be supported with a regular financial payment until the end of July. At that time, we shall once again review the situation.

The Big Issue Foundation has allocated £250,000 towards these regular payments.”

By a Tour de Flat!    which was streamed by the BBC.

By subscribing to The Big Issue for 3 month.

There are many Supporters Blogs where you can see what fundraising is being held.

The Big Issue Foundation do more than just organise their vendors and fundraising. They give advice on Housing, Welfare and Health, Addiction, Finance, Employment, Education and Personal Development.

Why am I inspired to write this post? The protagonist Dot, in my recently released novel ‘MISSING, Past and Present’ becomes homeless through no fault of her own. Writing her story made me realise how quickly your life could be turned upside down by events totally beyond your control. Dot was forced to leave her home and everything she knew and she trudged lanes and footpath seeking solace and a new direction in her life. Maybe she needed The Big Issue to help her along, in fact she did become a vendor for a little while …..

 

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Filed under Events, MISSING Past and Present