“Daddy....I love the coronavirus.” Taken at face value, this was a pretty controversial interjection into the misery gripping us all from my seven-year-old daughter Ana, but she is viewing our new world from a very different vantage point.
n her eyes, the pandemic that has struck fear into our hearts is bringing benefits that are worthy of celebration as she has been given time off school to play games, bake cakes and have fun with mummy and daddy, with the fine line of drip-feeding our children information – a new parenting skill we are all being forced to master.
Amid the games of ‘Monopoly’ and ‘Scramble’, the family Nintendo sessions of ‘Mario Cart’ and the occasional walks through the deserted fields in our deserted Bedfordshire village of Silsoe, the threat of the next horror story of the rolling news needs to be kept away from those innocent hearts.
Smiling little Ana can’t be allowed to go to bed at night wondering if she has seen her granddad for the last time or questioning why she is no longer going to see her 93-year-old great-grandmother in her nursing home, yet this is not a time to burden her with facts.
Our kids don’t need new chapters in their nightmares and the rest of us also need to be wary of the perils of loading the brain with too much information at a time when so much despair is being shovelled into it us on an hourly basis.
You wake up every day hoping this is over and then realise it’s about to get worse, with the cumulative impact of the despair certain to wear us down long before this story reaches its inevitably horrendous conclusion.
Avoiding the news may be the starting point of your plan for each day, but it is hard not to get drawn into the terrifying movie that has seen us all cast as its reluctant stars.
Protecting our own mental health is as big a challenge as shielding those around us from the evil that is Covid-19 and when I found myself welling up watching pop star Olly Murs dancing and singing with NHS nurses on ‘Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’ (for some reason!), it reminded me that the imbalance we all feel in our minds right now is close to the surface.
You switch between fear and anger, annoyance and despair of what is to come and even though we know this will end, the lack of a date for when normal life can resume adds to our discomfort. We all just want this to end, so stories of pubs staging lock-ins for regulars, market traders operating as normal and crowded London Underground tube trains make the blood boil. Do these people not understand the gravity of the situation we find ourselves in?
Do they not care about the threat they could be causing to all of us by ignoring advice and, potentially, wilfully spreading the virus into a community that is rapidly being broken down by the trail of destruction it leaves in its wake?
It's hard to have rational feelings towards those who refuse to take this crisis seriously and, in truth, many of us in the UK are looking in on Ireland's handling of the crisis wishing Leo Varadkar was our leader and not the bumbling cartoon character Boris Johnson who was only elected as Prime Minister last December.
None of us knows where all this ends, but the death toll is already rising to intolerable levels in the UK and amid increasing stories of overflowing NHS Hospitals, this crisis has only just begun.
Amid it all, Ana has just announced that she's finished her latest jigsaw puzzle.
We all wish we could be in her shoes right now.
We are living history. The challenges posed by Covid 19 are similar the world over but everybody’s experience of this emergency will be different.
In this special series, ‘Lockdown Letters' gives our readers at home and across the globe an opportunity to share their stories about how the Coronavirus and the measures to tackle its spread are impacting their lives in these unprecedented times.
Please email your submission (400 words max.) to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a photograph. We will publish as many letters as possible on Independent.ie and a selection in print every week.