Life in lockdown: Trudy’s story
“My 93-year-old brother has the virus – I’ve been told there’s not much hope”
Trudy, 88, who lost her husband two years’ ago, talks about the loneliness of staying indoors and how her Re-engage group has kept her going.
“I started going to the tea parties after my husband died two years’ ago. He was my childhood sweetheart – we’d been together for many years. It helped to be around people again. I’d been really going into my shell. Everyone was so good to me. If it wasn’t for the [Re-engage] group I don’t know what I would’ve done.
We went to some lovely places. And every few months, we’d have a tea dance, like we had in the old days. Everyone would get up and have a dance, even Edna. She finds it hard to move usually, but even she’d have a go.
I find staying in all the time very hard. I got in touch with the doctor to ask if I could go out and he said I mustn’t. I ask all the time but the advice doesn’t change. They don’t seem to tell the old folk much. It’s like they forgot about us.
It gets lonely on your own. It’s just terrible. My daughter is up in Yorkshire. The last time I saw her was in March. My brother is 93 and he’s got the virus. He’s too far for me to visit and we’ve been told there’s not much hope, so I just have to wait for the bad news really.
Maybe if I had people around me I’d feel different, but I’m frightened to go out now. It’s a dangerous world out there. Then again, sitting inside all these weeks, sometimes I wonder if I should just go out and take my chances rather than just being here on my own.
During the day, I’m always cleaning. I like a nice, clean house. My carer used to say, ‘Your home is so clean! Do you want to come and do mine?’ It always made me laugh! In all honesty, the reason I clean so much now is to keep busy. Some of the women I know say they just sleep all the time and that can’t be good for you.
I’ve still got my husband’s ashes. I keep them in the living room next to some white lilies, which were his favourite. Sometimes I see him here in the house. Is that mad? I’ll be having breakfast and I’ll look over and see him in his armchair, pulling his socks on. I guess some people say the ones you love never leave you.
I think about what he would say about all this. He’d probably cope with it better than me.
Luckily, I get lots of calls from my tea party group. We have a conference call once a month which is like going out on Sundays again. You get to have a real chat with people.
Once of the volunteers, Gary phones me all the time to see how I am too. He’s a lovely chap. He always calls when he says he will and I really like that. There are really good people out there. Everyone is trying to help and I can’t thank them enough.
We’ll meet each other again. I know we will. But I just want to get it all over with and get back to normal.”
The charity, Re-engage, supports people who are over-75, live alone and find it hard to get out in normal times. For more information visit: https://www.reengage.org.uk/