Love in the time of Coronavirus

In the relentless scroll of Coronavirus news, it’s understandable to feel anxious or become completely overwhelmed or worry about those we love. My mother and her partner, both in their seventies, are in lock-down overseas, far from family. A close friend of mine is only just out of Intensive Care and can’t afford to contract the virus. My partner and I are no spring chickens ourselves. If I let myself, I can feel the fear of losing the people I love start to rise.
But we all have our cross to bear. A woman I know can’t see her young children while she goes through a 14-day quarantine on returning from a work trip. Heart-wrenching stories from Italy of not only not being with a loved one when they died, but not being able to bury them and say goodbye.

Maybe the only answer – the only way through this – is to try to put aside the pain of losing or being separated from the people we love… and love even more people. Whether they are our neighbours, our colleagues or complete strangers.

There are many stories to inspire us. People dropping off meals for the elderly couple up the road. Offering to pick up groceries. Retired health professionals volunteering in their thousands to return to front-line duty in Ireland, even though their age puts them at increased risk of developing more severe symptoms.

Small acts of every day love soon build up. Remembering to check in with people and ask how they are. Staying indoors when you are young and fit and healthy – so that someone more vulnerable isn’t exposed. At our agency – now in living rooms all around the city – I was struck by how many people started work early and stayed late – unasked – to ensure our charity partners can do everything necessary to support the most vulnerable people they care for. By the efforts to ensure our workmates have reasons to smile every day, and to calm each other’s anxiety. By how many people have contacted me to make sure I was aware of a colleague’s needs – never mentioning their own.

So maybe what I need to do every day is refuse to focus on the love I might lose. Maybe what I need to remember is to be even more loving. Maybe this is how we’re going to beat this thing.

– Simone La Corbinière, Director at ON Agency

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