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‘My personal lockdown has been much longer’: on chronic illness, before and after Covid

Life before was a little different, but not a lot. Now I feel a new resilience and hope

Read more: Laura Barton on how a daily call to California got her through lockdown and Elle Hunt on moving to the other side of the world and the pandemic

I’ve been inside my cramped terrace house for nearly a year now. There haven’t been walks outside, or trips to the shops. Every morning, I wake into a day the same as yesterday. I reach out a hand to the cat who I know will be curled by my right side, listen for the creak of my son climbing down from his bunk bed. He will come and bundle himself under my covers, and we will begin again, another day juggling his schoolwork and my writing work, all conducted mostly from my bed.

I remember, dream-like, two weeks in the summer last year when it felt safe enough for my partner to fly over from Denmark, after six months apart. We drove to quiet places and he pushed me in my wheelchair. I wept, happy to see him and the green trees, and to eat picnics on the warm ground, a family again. It has been six months since then, and so we sit each day in front of iPads, touching fingers to the screen, baffled and smiling to still be in this strange, unforeseen predicament – falling in love, still, because distance does nothing to halt that. My life is one of pain, fatigue, activity, laughter.

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