Louise McCoy

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Dear Galway…..2020 started with an emergency trip to St. James Hospital in Dublin where my mother in law was taken in and was critically ill. My husband sat at her bedside in icu for weeks being told by doctors to expect the worst. Being the fighter she is, she fought back and by June 2020 we were visiting her in a totally different setting, on facetime, a room on her own in a small private hospital where nurses tended to her daily needs and physios worked on getting her walking again. By July she got home, carers visiting 5 days out of 7 making sure she was OK and we continued with the facetime calls daily. As she improved and the country was starting to pick up again, life was getting somewhat more normal. My husband traveled to see his mum fortnightly, I got to see my family once or twice but aired on the side of caution when visiting my elderly mum.
I have to admit our first lockdown was like a mini break from reality and I welcomed it with open arms. The sun was out, it was a well needed break from retail life, the weekly zoom quizzes were keeping us entertained. The facetime calls to friends far and wide and the quality time spent with family was gold.
The second lockdown was not so much a lockdown as it was coming close to Christmas and retail life did not stop behind those closed doors. Then worry set in…. Will our daughter get home from Luxembourg for Christmas, will we get to see our Mums and siblings over the festive season? Is it safe to travel etc etc
Our best friends dad died from suicide, we travel an hour down the road to pay our respects, 3 days later we get the dreaded “close contact” text from hse. Immediately I went home from work, tested negative a couple of days later, huge sigh of relief but also the question of will we won’t we travel to see our family on Christmas was answered, which was a definite “No”. Disappointment all round but with a mum who’s 83 it just was not worth the risk. Numbers were rising fast, lockdown number 3 was imminent and life was yet again put on pause….. but this time its different, businesses are really struggling, people in general are struggling wondering is there light at the end of this awful dark tunnel? I’d imagine in a way that this is somewhat what prison is like. In saying that, I am grateful that I have a very loving husband and a gorgeous teenage son who thankfully is in TY, so no need for home schooling and our daughter is getting on with lockdown life in Luxembourg. I am grateful for very thoughtful friends and family and I am seriously grateful to WhatsApp and zoom for this is my only way of seeing those fabulous people. Galway, I miss you, you’re past my 5km, I look forward to seeing you again soon…. most of all I look forward to seeing people’s faces again, binning all those masks, socialising with family and friends without worrying about being too close and lastly throwing my arms around the people I love. 2020/21 you’ve been a lot of things… but one thing you have not been is normal and I have discovered I like normal and the sooner it returns the better. LONG LIVE NORMAL.

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