• Austin Birks

Easter: Corona Recovery

I have always found Easter a rather odd time of the year. As a child, of course, it was wrapped around attending church, mass, the stations of the cross, naturally as a youngster you just go with the flow, not really comprehending the meaning. Frankly, more concerned with getting as much chocolate down one's laughing tackle as possible. Of course, the traditions of decorating eggs, and Easter egg hunts are all great fun, as more importantly were the gathering of the families with big lavish meals, to celebrate the miracle of resurrection after the death of Christ.


Interestingly, this year's Easter has been particularly interesting as families have not been able to visit each other as the requirement of lockdown continues to ensure isolation. And god willing not catching coronavirus, and its lottery-like death sentence for some and not others. Followed by the cruel imposition of a lonely death and an empty funeral. To be honest, being in isolation for so long got me thinking about the unique nature of family, and how this vicious illness has shone a torch on the value and the beauty of family life.

Of course, we all take it for granted as we have never been exposed to living without it, until now. Suddenly all that was normal and comfortable was absent and missing. Naturally, social media stepped in to help but it is just not the same as cuddling a parent, or hugging your child, or embracing your best friend. That human touch, as Bruce Springsteen called it, is so taken for granted. It costs nothing and is simply unique, and you only truly get to value it when you can no longer experience it. And even worse, and deeply cruel, for so many of those who have succumbed to this pandemic, the end has come alone and forlorn without the comfort of love from those closest to them at their hour of greatest need.


Also, what has been of particular interest to me has been the personal battle that I have endured with the process of recovery. I suppose, I adopted my usual rather casual view towards this aspect of life as I do to every other part of my life. And just got on with it, after all what other choice do you have? What I biblically failed to take into account was just how deep and significant the surgery had actually been. Yes, I was aware that it was more than a flesh wound, but while the exterior physical stitches were healing at a moderate pace, I did not realise just how serious the scars were below the surface. Mind you, I soon came to work it out. Basic things like getting out of bed, and that strange little ritual that you have to learn to lower yourself very gingerly at the right angle so that you don’t use your stomach muscles, mostly because they have long since parted company with you. Other things that you take for granted like coughing and God forbid sneezing take on a whole new proportion of pain, as they basically chuck an internal hand grenade right into the deep cut wounds that frankly play with head.



However, as everything, you very soon learn to grow and adjust. What I have found interesting has been my actual speed of recovery. It was pretty swift from the outset. Indeed, the day after surgery I was baffling the doctors and nurses with my rapid improvement. This actually resulted in me being shown the door 6 days earlier than I should, and then I just tried to keep it going, and the one thing that has really spurred the process has been the gift of sleep. You simply cannot beat the benefit of having good and thorough kip. For me, of course, this has been missing for a considerable long time, including the 6 weeks leading up my operation, as the cancer had conspired to curse me with a horrendous discharge that went on over 50 times a day. This meant that I got no sleep as I was awake every 20 minutes dealing with it, truly exhausting, but post surgery magically gone with the grand butchery that cut everything out that was causing any grief.

So, as I reflect back on this unique time of national and international turmoil, I can consider the importance of the family on the well-being of the human condition. This awful pandemic has at least taught me that the simple gifts of life are without the richest, and maybe that is just Easter is all about pulling together in the face of adversity to defeat the sting of death, and enjoying the true gift of life.


So happy Easter one and all and remember, heed the advice given and keep safe and well.

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