How strange was January? It came and went in what felt like a fleeting, pandemic stricken moment only to become February in a blink of an eye. It is not putting it lightly to say that it was a very tough month, when you examine the statistics that are out there you can see that the death rate was incredibly high and increased at a quicker rate than we had experienced previously. It would seem that the peak for the start of 2021 is now possibly nearing it’s end, with numbers dropping. What this looks like at our mortuary is that some days we are as busy as at the peak but not every day, and the days unlike that are increasing. It feels very uncomfortable to state anything positive about it improving, there is certainly a fear of jinxing any progress that has been made.
In reality, I am afraid that the lessening numbers of hospital admissions and deaths will once again mean that some people see this as a reason to break lockdown restrictions because they deem it to be ‘safe’. From that, we could enter the seemingly neverending cycle of people beginning to spread infections once again and we head towards another spike for later in the spring. My only hopes are that either we have now learnt to not act so foolishly, or that the vaccination programme will mean that the majority of us will be safe. In the unprecendented sense of this, as much as I never thought I would live through a pandemic of this scale, I never thought I would witness the conspiracy theories and COVID-19 denial that still seems rife amongst some groups.
All that aside, I am really seeing some sort of positivity as we move through this new year. It might be that the days seem brighter, are longer and warmer. It could also be that people are seeking out new positive vibes after nearly a year of being in and out of lockdowns. Today, Rachel sent me an article from the BBC titled Five Reasons to be (cautiously) Hopeful and the optimisim which is shown felt like a breath of fresh air. Of course, we did have the sad death of Captain Sir Tom Moore this week which sparked a national outpour of mourning. Although I did not take part in the evening applause, I did raise a glass in his honour the evening that I heard of his death.
On Wednesday this week I had the opportunity to show our Trust CEO and deputy CEO around the mortuary at King George’s Hospital. I do love have the privilidge to show people our facility and the hard work that we do, I think largely that is due to being able to demonstrate that the mortuary does not fit anyone’s preconceptions of how it will be. By the end of the week, I felt worn out and exhausted, which only lasted four days for me and I am very lucky to say that I have a three day weekend. The Trust that I work for had cancelled all annual leave in the month of January due to the pandemic but has since encouraged everyone to take at least three days this month. I have two days off later in the month where I have sort of promised myself to do a house spring clean I am most certainly not putting off in any way.
I quite like the very boggy park
Today, I woke up determined to do something that made me feel like I had not wasted my time off. As much as I desperately want to spring clean my house from top to bottom, I decided that a long walk on such a nice day would be better and that some sunshine would be good for me. Therefore I left my house and walked in as much of a straight line as possible towards the nearest cemetery I have not yet explored. This led me through some very boggy paths, a very fairytale forest and finally a housing estate but I made it to the gates of Rainham Jewish Cemetery. The gates were closed, which I expected and I had no real plans to enter as such. What I took in from outside was breathtaking in that I could see gravestones up to the horizon in all directions. I stopped to admire the gateposts for a while and then off I trundled back through the housing estate and forest towards home.
Rather impressive gate posts at Rainham Jewish Cemetery
No one knows how long this pandemic will last, or even just how long lockdown restrictions will continue. One thing I strive to do in all this uncertainty is to continue to do the small things I can do make me happy and to enjoy the free time I can have. Oh and I guess to one day actually spring clean my house while it is still spring. I hope you are safe, well and feeling as sane as you are able to. Here’s hoping I manage more blog posts this month than the last!