All Shall Be Well

When the world turns upside down overnight, it can take a while to find your feet again. Life changed completely, in the blink of an eye, and we are now adjusting to a new normal. Just as we were tentatively thinking about how we might resume some semblance of normality again, the spectre of a winter lockdown looms. Back in March I was putting together some mothers’ day pictures for our social media feed. I snapped a picture of Cannon Street Station, packed, in the rain. I was going to capture it “The Daily Commute”. Then COVID-19 happened, and that never got posted, buried under the multiple crises we were dealing with. The daily commute now seems like a lifetime away. 

All our daily rituals and routines have changed, bringing with them new routines, and additional anxiety. Am I working out enough? How is my mental health in lock down? Have I stayed in touch with enough people? Am I looking out for enough people? Don’t get me started on all the “must-dos” and “lock-down projects” –we’re just managing to keep on top of the day job, feed all four of us three meals a day, clear all those meals up and do the washing. Quite when I have time to learn a new language or write that novel, I have no idea. And don’t get me started on all the “how-tos” on the internet. This is not one of those. 

COVID-19 has been hard. The week before the lock-down my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. This would have been bad enough without COVID and without the fact that she’s the full-time carer for my dad – 80 years old with advanced Parkinson’s Disease. In two days, my brother and I were stunned as my father was placed in a care home and my mother went under the knife. We celebrated his 80th while he was in the home – with socially distanced champagne and cake (they made a great cake) after our first ever family zoom party. So many changes – I feel as if I am still processing them, weeks later. 

And yet. And yet. Lowering expectations has had its benefits. Just grateful to all be alive, my mum recovering from surgery, my dad free from COVID. Knowing that other people have not had that same outcome is deeply sobering and increases my gratitude. My garden. The birdsong. A family of blackbirds to watch build a nest, feed chicks, and teach their young to fly. Coffee time with the family. Rosé at sundown. Dark chocolate and red wine as the evening draws in. Walking, running, reading, watching epic movies, enjoying a decent TV series. Gardening. Watching my peonies bloom wildly and outrageously and being here to see them in all their flouncy glory. Friends on zoom – family quizzes- who knew – spending more time with them than pre-lockdown! Being creative with gifts and cards straight from the maker – looking at you Molly Designs (@_mollydesigns_). Relaxing about screen time for the kids and social media scrolling for me. Letting go of what doesn’t matter. Grabbing on with all I’ve got to what does. And doing my best to work out the difference.

Our Love Mugs have come into their own during lockdown. My mother in law sent me a picture of herself using her “Nanny we love you” mug. Such a special reminder of her grandchildren while she has been unable to see them for so long. Handing my mum her morning coffee during her recovery in the mug personally designed for her by my dad: “my heart’s delight” was a very moving moment. Another friend messaged me about how much her “Act, Love, Walk” mug, based on the bible verse 'Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God' was keeping her going. “I underestimated how it could and would speak truth to me and impact my everyday”.

Our aim at Love Mugs has always been to put words of encouragement and love into people’s hands. As you take a moment, have your tea or coffee, you are reminded how much you are loved. Using the mugs repeatedly allows the positive words to sink into your mind. We were also inspired to design a new Superhero mug by so many ordinary people we saw making a huge difference. Our NHS workers. Our postmen and women. Our shopkeepers, check out assistants, delivery drivers. Our teachers. Everyone doing their best to keep us safe and fed. Turns out that the real superheroes are often the ones that are quietly doing their bit. They don’t have one million likes or subscribers on You Tube, they just do their job, day in and day out. I think we’ve been ready for this for a while. To acknowledge real heroes, the ones who make our lives better by being there and by caring. It’s a brilliant gift for anyone who you think is doing a great job. For me, my superheroes are my parents. My dad, who has lived with Parkinson’s’ Disease for 30 years. And my mum, who has cared for him every day.

They are my superheroes. Along with my neighbours, who look out for everyone on the road (me included). And so are you. For keeping on, for loving your families, cooking all the food, clearing it up again and holding down your jobs or keeping your spirits up if you’ve lost them. For all the ways you make a difference to so many people, all of whom would find life harder and lonelier without you. Thanks for being you. You are awesome!

Sending you all our love from Love Mugs HQ, and to finish with a wonderful quote from Julian of Norwich (epic BBC documentary on her) who knew a little bit about isolation, having spent over 20 years in a cell: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”.

Wishing you all well as you realign your lives in our topsy-turvy new world, and get used to a world that looks very different than it did six months ago. You are doing so well. Love Mugs HQ is right behind you.

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