My Covid Colours
White – everything is white.
Outside the hospital it’s white, desolate and godforsaken as the snowy blizzard continues to obliterate all in its path. The thick white blanket hangs over everything. Trees stand motionless, boughs drooping with light fluffy flakes clinging together in vast numbers for strength. Lit street lamps try to show the way through the ever-moving icy net curtain enveloping them. Long sparkling icicles, hard and pointed, hang from gutters, pipes and lamp posts. Sound is deadened as cars gently crunch on the frosty snow. Walkers breathe icy vapour from beneath their face masks, whilst their footprints show the extent to which they are avoiding each other.
Inside the hospital, built especially to accommodate the hundreds of people caught up in this dreadful catastrophe, white continues on walls, ceilings, floors, curtains. No colour anywhere. Pools of white light from lamps above the lines of white beds. People dressed completely in white – doctors and nurses wearing white masks and visors completely obscuring their white faces. Faces, drained of energy, etched with tiredness as they struggle through the endless hours treating the sick and dying. Clinical, emotionless, subdued, detached, overwhelmed. Quiet white soft shoes carrying silent people hurrying about their daily tasks. The gentle hum of ventilators. The orchestral sounds of musical beeps coming from the machines bowing to their various needs.
I have been here for several days and know it’s the beginning of the end. The virus has laid claim to me as it has thousands of other blighted souls. I am one of fifty others, in isolation, all in various stages of the illness that is claiming us one by one.
Quiet voices surround me. My family is still allowed to be with me although they are unrecognisable with all the white protective equipment they are wearing. They will not be allowed to leave until I’m dead and will then have to live in isolation for a month. They feel it a small price to pay to be with me in my final hours. I wish I could tell them how much I appreciate their love.
“I’m here, my love,” My wife whispers to me. How I long to be able to answer her. My children are telling me how wonderful I am and how I must hang on to life no matter how hard it is. I want to, oh God how I want to. But I can feel the virus draining the life out of me and I am beginning to lose the fight. Gradually the voices fade and, eventually, comes blackness.
Black – everything is black.
The blackness continues. There is nothing. Every sound is muffled, no light shows anywhere. After some time there is movement. Subdued voices, and quiet music. The music brings back memories, lovely memories. The original singing comes from speakers as no one can be present at my funeral. I hear the music chosen and know my family is sending me love with every tune. The music dies, one more droning voice and then rumbling followed by quiet, eerie quiet. Suddenly gas ignites. I feel nothing, but see red and orange flames interspersed with blue – so pretty. Eventually the flames die, burn themselves out and the colour is grey.
Grey – everything is grey.
Grey is so nondescript. It’s just a nothingness which is exactly the state I’m in. I’m nothing and nowhere. Waiting but not sure for what. Surely this can’t be it? I am in such a small confined space but feel no discomfort – and I don’t know why I should even be wondering why. After all I’m dead! I can’t believe that this is it for evermore. So I wait, once again, for movement. This time it goes on for a long time. My grey world eventually slows down and I’m plonked unceremoniously on something solid – well the casket containing me is! I hear the family going about everyday life as I’m in the sitting room listening to many stilted conversations. I often hear my dear wife sobbing when she’s alone and wish with all my heart I could comfort her. But then – if I could – she wouldn’t be sobbing, as it’s me she’s missing.
Today the mood in the room sounds brighter.
“Now the restrictions have been lifted a bit and the weather is much nicer, I think we ought to lay Dad’s ashes to rest tomorrow,” says my wife.
“Well he loved lots of places,” answers my eldest daughter, Jo, with a smile I can hear in her voice.”
“Ok where do you suggest?” asks my youngest daughter, Meg.
“Well, there’s the Lake District, Scotland, The New Forest or our lovely Norfolk beaches,” interjects my son, Dan.
I’m just thinking, freedom at last!
“Your dad loved all those places equally but for different reasons – just like he loved you kids,” she smiled. “but we should consider travel so I suggest the beach.”
Yes, I do love them equally and wish I could tell them. Still I can’t, so get over it, I tell myself.
Rainbow – everything’s a rainbow.
More movement, being held close to my wife’s breast for one last time. What a beautiful spring day it is. The sun shines in a bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds dancing here and there. The blustery breeze is whipping white foam on the turbulent waves. The sea sparkles and the pale-yellow golden sand glints in the sunlight. They run through the sand in their bare feet. I hear their laughter as happy family times are remembered. Oh, to join in that laughter. I just hope they remember which way the wind is blowing when they scatter me to the waves!
And it’s all over – they’re saying their last words of love and holding hands as they gently place me on the blue sparkling water. Bright sunshine with rainbows of colour glisten through the spray. Such beautiful colour all around me after so much gloom. I’m free.
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