Summer from Inside Four Walls, Again

Emma Louise Cheetham by Emma Louise Cheetham Additional Needs

Emma Louise Cheetham

Emma Louise Cheetham

I live in Stockport, UK. I have Borderline Personality Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. After years of therapy and getting back on my fee...

This time last year, Summer was well and truly in full swing. Families were enjoying days out, making memories and having so much fun. The world was alive with festivals, family fun days and holidays. Social media was lit up with pictures of people in high spirits and precious memories being made.

I’m such a people person that normally I fully enjoy getting a glimpse of what life looks like for others. I love to see other people happy and enjoying themselves. I love looking at pictures of all the joyful activities people are getting up to away from the daily stresses that life brings for us all.

Last year however, I hated it.

I hated the punishing feeling of logging into social media, seeing friends and acquaintances seemingly going about life as if they didn’t have a care in the world, of course knowing this was more than likely not always the case. I felt angry, frustrated and upset when I saw smiling faces, new experiences and fun being had by, what felt like, everybody but us.

I was sat feeling trapped in the confines of the hospital walls with no idea when we would be free to leave and make some happy memories of our own. I tried to tell myself that at the end of each day we were another day closer to going home. I made numerous attempts to convince myself that we would be discharged in plenty of time to experience some of the delights that we were missing out on.

If the worst came to the worst, we’d always have next year I’d unconvincingly try to reassure myself. The reality is I couldn’t be sure if we’d have next year or even next month or next week. Being the parent of a child with such complex medical needs who has a limited life expectancy means that each day is precious and we cannot take anything for granted.

We did get discharged from hospital, just two weeks before the great British Summer drew to a close. It was the morning of my birthday when the doctors came in to tell us they were happy that we could go home after 13 long weeks.

We didn’t get to experience much Summer fun upon discharge as many of the family fun days had already taken place and the new school term was just around the corner. But we were home and that was enough. We’ll make up for it next year I thought.

So as we fast forward to quite possibly the strangest, craziest, in some ways saddest year that many of us will ever likely experience, once again our Summer is being spent in the same four walls. Only this time it’s not just us. Everybody has been affected. I wouldn’t say it makes the fact that we can’t be out in the big wide world enjoying all the usual Summer family fun that would normally be going on any easier, the fact that it’s not just us, but it’s slightly more manageable knowing that it won’t be in my face every time I log into social media.

I’m not seeing families go about their lives without a care in world in the same way.

We’re still shielding despite the fact the scheme has paused, so to some extent we are doing a lot less than many other families are doing. But the fact that we’re all living in these very unusual, frightening times together whilst all trying to do our part to protect our loved ones and our communities, well it makes it somewhat more bearable. We’re all in this together so to speak.

So as I sit inside the same four walls in the comfort of my own home, doing everything in my power to protect my child from the worldwide pandemic that currently has no known cure, I’ll look to next year to be third time lucky. All being well, next year will be the year that we will be able to experience all the Summer fun alongside the rest of the world with hopefully no pandemics and no hospital stays to hold us back. Next year I hope it’ll be just me and a relatively healthy child making happy memories.

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