As well as reading Louise’s story below, you can click on the photograph above to hear her chatting to me in February 2022, reflecting on this unusual time.
“We are a family of four. Although not physically here, Henry is with us forever and always. Whilst most of the country have been isolating for weeks, our social isolation started 6 months ago when our gorgeous son died unexpectedly from a sudden, short, unknown illness. Henry was a very healthy, fit and active eight year old, a few weeks away from his ninth birthday. Grief is a lonely, empty place, with all that was once familiar gone. The unimaginable loss distancing us from those that we love and love us, as the unbearable pain is hard to comprehend unless you’ve lived it. At home we are surrounded by Henry’s presence and, restricted to staying local, we regularly retrace old steps – both a comfort and a challenge, as escaping grief is limited. Early on we developed symptoms of the virus. It was the most ill we’ve been in adulthood, Rich suffering the most, Giselle less so. The hardest thing for Giselle was not having Henry around whilst we were ‘out of action’. Sadly and expectedly, this has been the enduring impact of lockdown. Henry loved being at home and they would disappear for hours in a world of their imagination, whether Playmobil in the attic, Lego cities in bedrooms, building dens or assault courses in the garden. We miss the noise of being a family of four as well as quieter movie nights with ‘discussions’ around what to watch…We’re trying to work but are realistic about what we can achieve. Getting clean and dressed is an achievement, completing school/paid work gets bonus points. We realise that many people are dealing with trauma and grief as a result of Covid-19, through someone close dying, loss of income or increased anxiety and fear. We feel grateful that we have been supported by friends and family showing that they care by simply messaging or phoning for a chat and not being afraid to talk about our loss or mention Henry. On the positive side, we are bonding as a family through evening cycle rides, though any benefits are counter-balanced by Giselle’s irresistible baking! Also lockdown hair makes me smile – something that we can all relate to!”