‘New Ways To Communicate’ is the second in a series of blogs looking at lessons we have learned from lockdown in Italy. The Italian lockdown lasted two months, one week and two days and at time of writing there are still many restrictions in place. My previous blog looked at the need for information.
New Ways To Communicate
Missing My Parents
By far the biggest emotional issue I had to contend with was that I could not go and visit my parents in the UK. And it still looks like it could be a very long time indeed before I will see them again.
I know I am not alone in this, even if you live close to your parents visiting may not be possible during this difficult time. At the time of writing this blog, I have not seen my Mum and Dad since the week before Christmas 2019 which is six months. Regular readers of my blog will know how close I am to my Mum, she has even starred here as a guest blogger!
I speak to my parents every day but it is not the same as seeing them. By now I would have visited three times so far this year. My visit not only provides a holiday for me but also for my Mum and Dad. My Mum is my Dad’s carer and so my staying with them gives my Dad someone else to talk to and I can take my Mum out and about for a break. I feel bad that I haven’t been able to do that, but it is out of my control so I have to let it go.
I felt there was a need for new ways to communicate. To give them something to look forward to and look back on. And where I can continue to share my life with them more completely than in a phone call.
The obvious solution would have been to arrange some sort of ‘face time; video link or Zoom/Skype call with my parents. Unfortunately, they are not tech savvy. Coupled with their internet connection not being as quick or reliable as it might be, it looked like this could add a layer of stress none of us needed.
Having thought through the options on new ways to communicate I came up with my own solution. I decided to create a weekly video for them. During the week, I record interesting things they might enjoy, like the sound of the nightingale singing in the valley, or the cacophony of the bull frogs at the lake. Maybe I give them a look at how my new succulents are growing. More recently, I took them through how I made my first ever ‘vegan ice cream’ including the taste test! Sometimes I video a dog walk or a little amble around my land looking at the fruit trees. I even take my parents with me to watch the sunset.
Then on a Friday afternoon I pull all the little videos together, make one video with some introduction from me if necessary and upload it to YouTube. Every Saturday morning I send my Mum the link to the video and my parents watch it over the weekend. They can then watch the videos again and again whenever they wish.
The Videos Are Fun For All Concerned
I love making the videos for them and my parents really look forward to seeing the video each week. In the past, when they were well enough, they visited the house here. So they recognize things in the video and can see how things are the same or have changed since they were last here.
Mum says that anyone listening while she is watching the video would think she is nuts as she talks to the screen. I make a point in the videos of showing things we have bought together or that she has given me. As I am reminding her of where we were when we saw them first she answers me. I include things that will interest my Dad too – most recently shots of wild animals from our night camera.
They have seen my lockdown haircut grow, were ‘with me’ in the dog run when the dogs found a dead shrew. They were even able to advise me on how to move furniture around to make best use of a room.
My Mum now regularly sends me photos of her garden and how her flowers are looking. Again, she enjoys sharing that with me – I do miss photographing those flowers though! Many of my floral designs originate in Mum’s garden.
I miss the hugs but we are doing the next best thing. We found a new ways to communicate that really works for us!
The next blog in this series looks at the lesson of eating well for less.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!