When Christopher Robin reminded Pooh Bear that he was brave and strong and smart, I suspect he wasn’t thinking that their separation would be due to a world wide pandemic.
And when I thought about my 50th birthday. I tossed around the idea of popping over to London to spend some time with my 20 year old son. Never did I imagine I would jump on an emergency flight to go straight to hospital to find him badly injured and then stay in London for my birthday and many more days besides and yet, here I am.
When I began writing this blog, I was at a place in my life when I had to remind myself that I was still brave. Life was unsure and a bit scary but I was determined to keep living it in the bravest way I could. Never did I ever imagine I would have the courage required to sit at the hospital bedside of my son while he restlessly slept and held tight to my hand because he really didn’t know where he was or why he was there. And yet, here I am.
As I said farewell to 2019 I was hopeful for a new and exciting year ahead. There were whispers of a virus far far away but it didn’t affect us so we didn’t worry about it. My older son, enjoying his adventures in UK working in the event industry was thrilling and fun. We chatted at least once a week and I loved hearing regular updates of work and fun.
My life was getting exciting too. I had a new job. Being a host of pub trivia, a Quizmaster, was brilliant fun.
My son got a great job. It was going to see him all the way through the northern hemisphere summer on the Greek islands. Yes, we’d miss celebrating his 21st at home but I was so happy that he was spreading his wings and enjoying success on his own in the event industry.
And we heard a bit more about this virus. Cases were coming closer but surely it wasn’t going to get all the way to us and then Italy closed.
I don’t have a clear memory of the timeline of Covid19 but I know when things started to change. I know when the gigs started to get cancelled. I know when I was just starting to get good numbers at my gig and then social distancing was on the radar, so my venue cancelled my gig. How could we gather for fun and still be 1.5 metres apart.
It made sense.
And the gigs kept getting cancelled and then my son’s brilliant summer job was cancelled. Spain closed its borders and sent him back to England.
We discussed it. Everyone was closing borders. It was time for him to come home. His Dad bought a ticket and he was due to fly home on the 19th of March. Just six days before my birthday. My son was coming home from London in time for my birthday.
And then the phone call, he was missing. He’d been missing for 30 hours. And a mother’s heart almost stopped beating. This mother’s heart felt like it had frozen. There was no letting go. There was only trying to find him. Hospitals in London were called. A missing person’s case was opened with the UK metropolitan police. I called his friends via Facebook.
They had been having a fun time on the night of Saint Patrick’s Day. And the next we knew, no one had seen him since 3am 18/3/20
So we called and we waited and I cried, only a little, and I shivered because I think I was in shock. One thing of which I was certain, I felt it in my bones, deep in my heart, that my son was still alive but he had fallen and I was scared of where.
Finally at 1:30am Saturday 20/3 we were told the police had located him at Kings College Hospital. He’d had a fall from a wall and been found with many injuries including fractured vertebrae, and a head injury.
I knew that I had to get on a plane and get to my son. A mother’s instinct is a powerful force. As the government were declaring all non essential travel should not be done. This was essential and so at 10:30 pm Saturday 20/3/20 my one way flight to London took off from a runway at Tullamarine in Melbourne.