21 Jan 2022

‘Old age is coming at a really bad time’: A note from the bubble by Longford's Kitty Hughes

Postcard from a cocoon: Longford's Kitty Hughes shares her experience of isolation

Kitty Hughes, Chair of Longford Older Persons Council

It’s so important not to discard or segregate the elderly in our society but to have them be a vital part of our lives. We have a hunger for live experiences, of being in the moment, not watching a replay of the highlights.

Intermingling in a new environment with different energy stimulates our bodies, minds and souls. But we are at home, staring out the window, watching screens, zooming and texting, we take the car out to make sure it will start but really it’s to make sure the world is still out there. We are in a state of patient resignation.

We are bombarded with news - statistics about the spread of the virus, numbers in hospital and ICU and then those who have died. It’s a sad saga daily, with predictions of further ‘waves’ before things will improve.

Even the light entertainment shows are full of stories of heartbreak and distress.

We look on, helpless, as people die, funerals pass on the road and we watch the liturgy on screen. From an empty church. And the wave of deaths in a religious community - the Holy Ghost Fathers. Ten priests died there in January. RIP.

The passing of Sir Tom Moore brought a reminder to be optimistic. With his maxim of ‘tomorrow will be a good day’ he did his bit to keep the wheels of the NHS working through his fundraising walk in his own garden. It was his family who first included him in what was happening all around him. That’s what we all want - to be included.

The vaccine too is a bit of a muddle and then it became political and in Brussels bureaucrats bungled about the border and tensions arose that we thought had been consigned to history.

Speaking of history, we had a centenary commemoration in Co Longford recently for the ambush of Clonfin. Of course it’s all virtual. But it’s important to know your history and led by Martin Morris and Mary Reynolds at the Library you can learn all about it.

And then we have the brilliant leadership of Sr Maeve Brady, possibly the most active senior citizen in our community – presenting a message of remembrance and reconciliation on those who did die at Clonfin, again online, We should all watch and learn… for if we don’t learn from our past we are bound to repeat it.

I had a bit of an emergency myself last week. I needed expert help with a blocked drain. Then I remembered Longford Community Call, so I located the phone number and a very friendly and efficient lady answered and not only gave me the information I required but two phone numbers to call.

It all worked out fine and I’d like to thank her and indeed the local firm that came to my rescue with efficiency and courtesy.
I thank all who answer our calls for help, assistance, advice and support. Keep up the good work and remember not all our needs come from the supermarket shelf. Post-winter, there are maintenance jobs beckoning.

Was it just me or did I really have a massive amount of messages on 1st February about Spring and St Brigid and an lá’dul chun síneadh and a sense of rolling up the sleeves and getting back to work? Snowdrops in bloom and promising daffodil spears all around the garden, a stretch in the evening.

On the Longford Leader I read all about Darragh Greene who has qualified to take part in the Olympics in Tokyo. He started swimming in Longford Swimming Pool. I hope he gets to realise his dream and we can all cheer him on.

Right now, we are patiently resigned to our fate. We stay at home, keep our distance, but if we get the vaccine and the lockdown is lifted, we will be ready to rejoin society with energy and enthusiasm.

Old age is coming at a really bad time!

Kitty Hughes

Longford Community Forum

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