Pat Hudson is on the road to becoming a Mindfulness and Compassion teacher as she sets up her business over the coming weeks and puts her accredited Mindfulness and Compassion qualification to full use. She is also the parent of 3 adult children who she is social distancing from during lockdown and her feelings and concerns may resonate with others amongst you who are doing the same.
AL: How is the coronavirus lockdown affecting you and your family?
PH: I have been used to working from home for years and my husband has retired so we have been used to being at home together. In that sense, nothing has changed over night as it has for some in terms of work although we can't go for walks or do other things we are used to doing, when we want. So, overall my husband and I are doing ok during lockdown.
We have 3 adult children who are scattered around. I do feel isolated from them as we can't see them as often as we would like to. My younger daughter is profoundly disabled and we regularly visit her on a weekly basis even though 9 out of 10 times she would fall asleep and that was ok as we could chat with her carers and chat to her if she stayed awake. Our son and his fiancée are 10/12 miles away and we would see them quite regularly and our older daughter is in Taunton which is a 2 hour drive so we would see her once a month.
To be honest, I didn't realise how much I would miss them until I couldn't see them. That's really the point in all this that we no longer have the freedom to choose and that has been the difficult part, as a friend mentioned to me, that we've lost choice.
AL: How is lockdown affecting your children?
PH: As a family, we have stayed in touch through Whatsapp and we've discovered Zoom like everyone else has during lockdown. Our whole family are now involved in those chats including my younger daughter. There have been periods of time when we have been away for 6-8 weeks to visit my family in Australia so my younger daughter will be used to having some periods without visits. The main difference for her will be in not being able to go out as much as she likes as she enjoys going outside.
Our other daughter has discovered that the street she lives on is brilliant as she has got to meet more people through the clap for the NHS on a Thursday night, who she didn't necessarily see or know beforehand. She has also discovered that she actually misses human contact more than she thought she would, which she didn't realise would be an outcome as she normally shies away from human contact, perhaps because of her sight loss. She is also still working as a Eye Clinic Liaison Officer and is able to have the phone or online contact with her clients so she can continue to offer advice on sight loss or signpost people to where they need to go for their needs. Often, she also listens to them and as she is severely sight impaired herself then she appreciates some of the worries of some people. Structure is also important to her throughout the day so she has continued to structure it like a work day which also allows time for taking her guide dog for a walk.
My son and his fiancée have been furloughed so have had to find a different structure to their days. They have been walking a lot, have taken up virtual yoga and have stayed connected to family and friends via zoom. Pre lockdown they would go to a weekly quiz at a local pub. They have continued this by doing quizzes via zoom with family and friends.
AL: What has helped you during lockdown?
PH: I start my day with meditation and open the window in the morning to listen to the dawn chorus. Staying connected with family and friends has been important too through conversations, sharing mindful practices, poems and clips or something else. I'm seeing a greater sense of community in how people are interacting with each other.
I went for a walk the other day and heard a woodpecker close by when I thought I'd sussed the right tree, I hugged the tree, putting my ear against the bark. When the woodpecker did it's thing, I felt the vibration. It was such an uplifting moment and I was smiling long after remembering the sensations.
Taking life more slowly has allowed me to notice more and be in the present moment awareness just like smelling the chocolate scented brown flowers which have been at the bottom of my garden but I've not noticed before in the 20 years I've lived here.