Easter 2020

It’s hard to wish anyone a Happy Easter this year but I hope you are able to find small moments of joy.  Teddy took this photograph of me on Good Friday while we walked around the containment pond.  On route we chatted to some new neighbors across the fence, we met a fisherman who caught a foot long bass fish out of the pond!  Whoo Hoo!  We high fived from 10 foot distance – I have only ever seen heron sized minnow snack.  Then we moved aside while a community minded neighbor mowed the walking path with her son so we could walk more easily through the long grass.

I think you can see from the look on my face above that I am struggling to keep being vibrant although the little Zen cairn made my heart happy.  Just like all the vapid celebrities, I have no makeup on and a baseball cap to hide my hair…  As we sat down last night to watch yet more Netflix or Prime, I commented to Teddy that this is probably my worst Easter ever.  Immediately I felt guilty for comparing my luxurious life to anyone else’s this year.  How awful to be in a refugee camp or to be any of our first responders.  As I mused, I remembered my real worst Easter which was in 1970.

We lived in prefabricated metal public housing that was unbearably cold in a Scottish winter.  In the autumn of the previous year, I started getting chest infections consecutively.  My health and lungs had been compromised from babyhood in part from my mum having tuberculosis during her pregnancy with me.   In our community there was no choice of family doctor and ours had many complaints about his incompetence.  My mum pleaded with him to refer me to a pediatrician but he blankly stated that she was neurotic and continued to prescribe antibiotics.  By midwinter my Nana and mum had created a little bed for me in the nook of the fireplace of the living room which was the warmest place in the house.  I woke up every morning with dried mucus covering my whole face like a veil of illness.  My breathing was terrible and I missed months of schooling.

In desperation my uncles gave my mum £40 (a fortune for us) to visit a pediatrician privately.  He also worked for the National Health Service, as do most private surgeons, and I was in hospital the next day.  By this time 6 months had passed and it was almost Easter.  There was no room in the children’s ward so I and 3 other little girls were placed at the end of a Victorian long ward full of ladies with cancer.  I was terrified by the older ladies barely holding onto life and the strangeness of the situation.  The two little girls opposite me were sisters and had been flown in from one of the outer Western Islands.  Was it a twofer or were they both genuinely needing their tonsils out?  It would have been very expensive back then to fly in from Barra.  They were relentlessly cheerful and kind to me in their soft accents from speaking Gaelic.

My mum tried to visit every night after her very long work day and I think I sobbed every visit.  When I was wheeled to surgery, alone, I asked the surgeons if I was going to die.  They removed my adenoids and tonsils – a complaint was made about our family doctor who we still had to see because of no options available.  In those days they made you eat scratchy toast to heal up your throat – ow!  All the food was awful and worst of all – it was EASTER!  Family and neighbors rallied around with an array of chocolate eggs that I could not eat.  All except a little egg box full of Cadbury’s Cream Eggs with a sixpence underneath each from my aunt Cathie and uncle Donal.  I was able to suck the cream out of the eggs even though I couldn’t eat the chocolate.

Eventually I went back to school although I had some home tuition.  I had no voice for weeks and I struggled to catch up.  But I did, and life moved on.  It was so stressful for my poor mum that she had a major mental breakdown after this and never worked again.  I am so grateful for the all the kindness given to us at that time.  One of the greatest sacrifices was from my mum’s colleague’s son who donated his extensive collection of rare American comics to this sick little girl.  Richie Rich and his friends made me so happy.  I still love the gift of a magazine – it feels like a treat.  The taste of artificial cherry that disguised childhood penicillin makes me feel sick, as does the smell of a hot toddy.

Kerry’s egg shaped cyst behind her lungs

In retrospect, I realized that my peculiar egg shaped cyst behind my lungs may have made me sicker than I would normally have been.  It looks like a portent of doom, doesn’t it, but the cyst has shrunk back to the size of a raisin.  There is always light at the end of darkness.  Hollywood endings are rare but we will overcome our current sickness and learn how to make our lives safer.  I had the Catholic Last Rites when I was less than a year old but so far, so good.  Keep faith in humanity.

I send springtime wishes to all of you, whatever your faith or lack of.  Be well.

58 thoughts on “Easter 2020

  1. Kerry, I’m so happy that the cyst has shrunk and you found some happiness in the little cairn in the grass. Never know where you’ll find inspiration. We’re in the Sea of Cortez waiting to head north to bug out and find some isolation. Mexico is in a Semana Santa Lockdown so we’ll leave after that’s done. Great post, thanks for sharing that poignant story-
    Chad
    http://www.LiveFree2SailFast.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Easter Kerry.. I’m spending mine redecorating. When I shifted in here, the walls were all a beige/apricot colour. I hated them, but was too busy with exhibitions to worry about them. This enforced time at home has made me really despise them but have the time to do something about them. My son and I have been painting all week.. Yesterday we made a feature wall with a white and pink striped wallpaper.. Bliss.. I’m starting to love the place 🙂

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    • What a great thing to do when we have to stay at home – it sounds lovely, Yvonne. I have been haphazard with tasks. Cleared some files out and dug up the weeds. Happy Easter. K x

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  3. Happy Easter Kerry. I hope that you are both well. We live in extraordinary times.
    I’m hoping this passes and that our scientists find a cure. Keep enjoying the beauty of nature. It’s good for the soul.
    Lots of love. Anne x

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  4. Your poor mummy …. no wonder the experience broke her. Your uncles deserve all the praise and the sweet Gaelic speaking girls from the islands with their unwavering support for the poorly little girl in the bed opposite. That’s just the thing, isn’t it. People are going through their own torments all around us. In the Christian faith, Jesus Christ gave his life that mankind would be saved. There are so many making such sacrifice to keep the sick tended and the essential jobs done. It’s hard to hang in there but you, with your cyst thankfully shrunk to the size of a raisin from what looks like a rugby ball, you are an amazing woman and you shine light all around even in the bleakest of dark times and your story serves to remind that bleak dark times do occur and they will pass. With a toll. But they will pass.

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  5. Hi, Kerry, how are you doing today? I’m so glad you had a chance to see a doctor back then! I was a sickly kid too, managed to get tuberculosis and was in the hospital for many many months. And hospitals 30 years ago were a completely different place to what they are now. The food was aweful and if we didn’t finish our plates, we were locked up in a dark cupboard as a punishment. Thanks for sharing your story, it brought tears to my eyes, and I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend, all things considered. Sending you lots of hugs from Sligo ❤️

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    • Oh Goodness, Aiva, your experience was so much worse than mine. How awful that they locked you in the cupboard. I still test positive for TB. My mum had it three times before it was cured, as did my mother in law. Glad that you are happy and healthy now. Much love Kerry xx

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  6. Oh wow, what a story Kerry. Much as I love a bit of history I get annoyed when people wish for a return of the ‘good old days’ – they’d be glad to hurry back to the present, imperfect though it may be. I’ve just been reading an account by a local (Jersey) woman who had TB of the spine and was in plaster from waist to thigh for three years during the Occupation. We’ve come a long way.

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    • Yes, Roy, how quickly we forget how much life has advanced…or perhaps I am just old! My mum had TB three times, once as a child, when she was expecting me and then finally in 1967. That was the nail in the coffin for our plans to return to the US. In those days they would not admit anyone with a positive case of TB. Probably still the same? I still test positive for TB and read something about BCG vaccines being effective against Coronavirus.

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  7. Thank you for sharing. sorry your /Mum’s toll was so high. Delighted cyst has shrunk. We were only talking last night about the TB in Ireland and how families and communities were devastated.
    I hope the peace and joy of Easter and Spring help you through Covid-19

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    • Thank you so much. Just discovered that our county in Texas has 5 tests left – and the numbers are rising. Well done to the richest country in the world. ☹️ Despite that we had a nice Easter. Blessings to you and yours. K x

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    • We had a few people with calipers as a result of polio but also quite a few with rickets (and bowed legs).
      The cairn is still there, if moved around somewhat. I can’t tell if they were human or raccoon fingers…🦝🦝

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  8. Your story certainly helped me put things into perspective! I’m so sorry you had to endure that as a child, but glad that now your cyst is so small. You’re right, sometimes life is hard and we can get overwhelmed, but the bad times don’t last. We will get through this, and we will enjoy our lives again. Thanks for the reminder, and a happy belated Easter to you!

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    • Thank you, Ann. One of the advantages of being older is all these collective memories with which to gain perspective of our current pandemic. I call my cyst Pumpkin because she was discovered around Halloween. Sometimes she is big, sometimes she is small – a mind of her own!!!

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