26 Feb Explore Lockdown Diaries – Fiona and Jason
For the first in our Lockdown Diaries blog series, we chatted over Zoom with one of our volunteer couples, Fiona and Jason, about their experiences of the covid-19 pandemic.
Fiona and Jason started out as a holiday romance and have now been married for 22 years. Their four children range in age from 13 to 20. Like many families, the pandemic has been a tough time. Both contracting covid around the time of the first lockdown in March last year, Fiona suffered particularly badly and was hospitalised. It was a very frightening start to the pandemic for the family. Thankfully both Fiona and Jason are now back to full health.
Despite this frightening experience, the couple explains that this latest lockdown has been the hardest period during the now yearlong pandemic. Jason laughs “This lockdown is torturous! The darkness, the weather, the winter months”. “The whole family has been affected in different ways” reflects Fiona.
One of their children had to cope with their A-levels being cancelled last summer and the worry of whether she would secure a university place. Thankfully she did but has only spent one term at university and is now learning remotely. Another is missing out on sitting their GCSE’s this year. Their two university-age children are stuck at home with their parents at a time when they want to get out and experience the world independently as young adults. Their youngest is struggling with motivation for home schooling with all his older siblings having late lie-ins and little purpose to their day. He is experiencing feelings of isolation from friends and learns best in a class of peers, not on his own at home. They are keen for him to return to school.
Fiona has found it hard being everything to everyone all the time. “It’s exhausting”, she says. “It’s also been difficult as a mum seeing the kids miss out on so much and not being able to fix it for them”.
The mental stress has hit them hard. The kids have been angry and emotions are running high. “They are feeling what we are feeling” says Fiona.
We are all in the same sea but in different boats, facing different currents, different challenges.
We asked how they have coped. “We count our blessings; we know we are more fortunate than some”, shares Jason, adding “we try to give each other space”. Jason recognises that Fiona likes to take the dogs for a walk by herself sometimes and, even though he would quite like to join her, tries to tune in to when she needs time alone.
When asked if this is the most challenging time in their relationship, the couple pause. “It has been challenging, but not the most challenging time we have experienced as a couple” says Fiona. Jason was working away in Scotland every other week for three and a half years. Fiona was working as a teacher at the time while looking after their four children and all that entails. “This has been an altogether different type of challenge”.
Despite the challenges, they feel positive about the future. Like many of us, they look forward to holidays and time with family who they have not seen for many months.
Fiona comments “we are together, we still talk and we are supporting each other. Its difficult to see the positives when you’re in it but we are surviving this and that is a huge achievement. We will all know each other better as a family by the end of this”.
“I am looking forward to Freedom!” says Jason. “We took it for granted before and really looking forward to that now”.
That is certainly something we can all relate to whatever our own circumstances may be.