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'It takes an emergency to bring home to us that family matters'

Mary Kenny


As we start to emerge from our lockdown, we've come to realise how much we cherish our family unit

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Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin

One of the most touching photographs published last week was that of two Italian grandparents, Melia and Giovanni Famoso of Milan, joyfully hugging their grandchildren after a two-month lockdown. It must represent such a universal sentiment of families reunited after this surreal and sometimes tormenting period we've been going through. For all the many tragedies, losses and economic anxieties, the one positive that has emerged is that the pandemic has brought families together (and kept them together!). And sometimes brought a new perspective on family life, too.

A British study has found that many people used the lockdown time to reassess their lives and consider what was important to them. Many people, surprisingly, came to like the fact they had less choice; this simplified life, clearing away much of the mental clutter. And a primary outcome of this general reassessment was that "family matters".

More touching still have been the many expressions of grief and sorrow expressed on social media at the passing of family members; the real sense of distress at a family not being able to attend a deathbed. And then, not being able to hold a proper funeral which wider circles of family and friends could attend.