Angela Armstrong retired earlier this year having worked as a Pupil Support Assistant at her local primary school in Inverness for 20 years. This is her written story.
When the craziness began back in March this year, I was pleased with myself that I felt because of my recent illness I now had all the tools I needed to help me deal with the present situation, and no matter what happens it will never be as bad as the living hell I had just come through. Many thanks to my husband and my family and friends I was now out the other side. I have retired and I was now supposed to be living the dream. I try to have a positive outlook on life and I also have my meds that will continue to help keep me healthy and sane.
I am a very huggee person, I miss hugs all the time, I worked for 20 years in a local primary school, I loved my job as a Pupil Support Assistant. I loved the little people I worked with and all the hugs we would give each other. The little people always made my day, with their honesty and happiness and kindness and respect. I loved playing music on the playground for the children to dance to. I loved dancing with my Junior Leaders. I loved my voluntary coaching of our Netball Teams on Fridays after school. I loved my voluntary Friday lunch time craft club. The reality of COVID is that sadly none of this can happen now.
My last day at school was the start of an Easter Holiday I walked out the gate and through no fault of my own I never walked back in. It is a good job none of us know what is around the corner. I never got to retire properly to say good-bye to the job I loved, the children, my fellow lovely PSAs, the Staff, and parents. I do know that I would have hated google classroom, or to not be able to receive or return a hug from a happy, sad, or hurt child. I am not sure how long it will be if ever schools will get back to the happy times I once experienced.
I miss my family they live in Manchester, Glasgow, and Northern Ireland, thank goodness for technology I speak to them regularly on the telephone or through face time. To be so far away when you know someone close to you is sick and you cannot go to visit is just the pits.
My Granddaughter was in her P7 year when this was all happening, and she never got to go back to visit her school or say goodbye to her friends. She is now at Grammar School and I cannot imagine what it is like for her, a totally different experience to what it would have been if it had not been for COVID.
My sister in Manchester has underlying health problems and has been shielding twice her company are refusing to pay her this time even though she has a government letter saying she should not go to work. She cannot visit her son and partner and their wee 6-year-old boy as they all have the virus, only the wee 4-year-old girl has escaped it. Manchester is in lock down and we are not allowed to visit just now.
My brother in Denton is shielding too so he cannot see his two wee grandchildren, but his wife can. The wee one’s wave to him through the window the 4-year-old not understanding why Grandad cannot give her hugs any more.
My eldest brother who is 70 and a diabetic and a high health risk cannot leave his flat.
My 80-year-old mother-in-law lives in a high rise flat on the 12th floor and cannot see her friends. She lives for the 3-hour telephone call from her son (my husband) on a Sunday night. Were told we cannot visit Manchester now as it is in lock down and a high-risk area. We are both desperate to see our families.
My daughter has had to give up her home in Edinburgh to come home (after living on her own and being independent for ten years) and live with us because of COVID and living on her own and not seeing anyone from one day to the next was not good for her. Fortunately, she can continue to work for her employer, and she can work from our house and I know she is safe with us and we will all help each other get through these difficult times.
We all try to be positive, what is there to look forward to, you cannot plan a holiday, you cannot celebrate a special birthday or anniversary. I absolutely love Christmas; I think of the Christmases Past – Christmas Parties at School the Social Dancing for the Seniors and the Parties in the Gym Hall for the Infants that are not going to happen this year, all a thing of the past. I would be getting excited for Christmas already planning and looking forward to seeing my Son and Daughter-in-law and my two lovely grandchildren but because of COVID Northern Ireland is in Lock Down so they cannot travel to visit us and we cannot leave Scotland to visit Northern Ireland either.
Positivity We Will Get Through this, and it will make us stronger and appreciate the important things in life, health, happiness, and family. I am glad to be alive and I live life to the full, I tell my husband every day I love him.
We will celebrate and party to the max once this craziness is all over. I class myself as fortunate I have not lost a loved one to COVID 19 I am sure many people out there are not as fortunate as me. We all hope that at some time in the future wearing a mask and Covid 19 will be a thing of the past.