We are living through truly unprecedented and challenging times when staying safe is of the utmost importance.
We have spent the past year since March staying home to stay safe. Navigating varying degrees of stressful life events. Some of us have lost loved ones, some of us have become ill ourselves. Many of us have lost our work or the ability to run our businesses. All of us have experienced a loss of time, increased stress and some degree of anxiety relating to COVID19.
2020 stay home stay safe campaigns have changed the way humans interact forever
For many, there will be ongoing suffering in its various guises linked to the pandemic related trauma experienced during 2020. In particular, this pandemic has struck at the soft underbelly of our human community. Our love of interacting and sharing time together. Building relationships and deepening emotional connections, enjoying the best that this life has to offer, through shared experience. This disease has forced us to change the way we interact and respond to people that we love. We now perceive them as potential threats and this has created a terrible paradox for us.
Our traditions have changed, to stay safe
Despite all that we have lost this year, we cannot grieve the way we have done for centuries. Holding one another close and supporting each other through the experience. Instead, we are forced to step back from one another and remain apart. Even though every instinctive drive inside us, longs to be close and embrace one another in our grief. This is torturous and yet we must stay safe. Fighting the need to mix and gather and maintain our resolve to defeat this terrible virus.
At the beginning of December 2020, there was a collective sigh of relief by the global population. Hope sprung from the news that there were several efficacious vaccines. Theses would soon be rolled out to combat the coronavirus.
What will 2021 bring?
However, no sooner had we embraced the hope of an imminent vaccine, we were confronted by an new reality. A further highly contagious mutation was developing in London, with knock-on effects for us in Europe and Ireland. And so what has followed, has been a further tightening of restrictions. When we had hoped that they would be easing.
This is disappointing. It strikes me that COVID 19 is like a raging army of soldiers. Whose sole intention is to destroy civilisation as we know it. It aims to do this by infecting and killing as many people as it can.
It like this army has become aware that the vaccine will soon slow it down and ultimately annihilate it. With a last-ditch strategic effort to escalate its speed of destruction. Before we have time to roll out our defences (the vaccine) in any meaningful way.
At this point in the war against the virus, our most important defence is our psychological response to the virus. We must be strong stay safe and hold out our resolve. Be disciplined and delay the gratification that we desire. We cannot allow the virus to attack us when our guard is down and in so doing defeat us.
The light is at the end of the tunnel we must not falter now. We must not forget that this disease wants to take our most vulnerable and precious loved ones from us. It wants to destroy our way of life. We cannot let it win.
This festive season has become a weapon for the virus to use against us. Like a siren, in the Greek mythological sense. After almost a year of physical distancing, it is very tempting for us to gather together and celebrate our traditions.
Even to comfort one another in our loss. We desire to be together more than ever before. Prolonged distancing between those whom we love and ourselves, has made it desirable to join celebrations. However, such gatherings may end up being deadly last suppers. Instead let’s Stay safe, and at home.
My wish therefore for us all this Christmas is that we may choose to #staysafe and #stayapart. To stay the course that has been set out by our Public Health experts. To #supportourfrontline workers and in so doing choose life for ourselves and our loved ones and our communities.
Instead of gathering as we so desire. Let us stay safe and lean into the spirit of Christmas and New Year. Defying the COVID 19 virus. By blocking out the sound of the sirens, that wish to seduce us into dropping our guard. Let us stand together once more and refuse to loosen our resolve. Let us remain together but apart and keep each other and ourselves safe. With the knowledge and hope that the Spring will come and we will overcome this trial and very testing time.
In the hope-filled words of Seamus Heaney, “if we can winter this out … we can summer anywhere.”
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Written by Catriona Brennan