Josh was known for not staying in or being in the same place for too long and, apart from when he was sleeping he was constantly on the go. I know that he would have still been working during the lockdown as he would have been a key worker who was providing an essential service. As a Roads Planner, he would have been responsible for ensuring that our roads were safe and well maintained by overseeing and planning the many jobs that had been allocated to him for supervision. Speaking to some of his colleagues and friends from work they have said it is business as usual, the road planners are still planning the jobs and the gangs are still out there working hard. I play out scenarios and conversations between us every day and I know that I would have been checking up on him all day making sure that he was wearing his mask and gloves and keeping his distance wherever possible. He would probably reply by telling me that he is good and not to worry and what’s for dinner! He would be less worried about the virus and he would probably say what I say to my mum who refuses to leave her house, and that is as long as you are keeping your distance and following the guidelines you will be fine. While I follow the government guidelines by self-isolating and working from home, I still walk Stella every day and go to the shops for my groceries. Mental healthcare is so important and I would encourage everyone to go for a walk as close to nature as possible even if that is being near trees on your road, nature is a true healer.
Over the past four and a half years I have lived a very sedentary lifestyle so for me nothing has changed particularly apart from visiting schools sharing Josh’s story, attending lots of meetings along with the giving and the receiving of hugs and socialising with my family and friends. I know that Josh and I would also be having debates every day around the guidelines and the decisions that our Government has made for us be them good or bad as he would have been frustrated about not being able to go to the gym, chill out with family and friends or go to a restaurant, he loved eating out. I like to think that he might have even agreed to go walking or jogging with me out of sheer boredom as it was always something I nagged him to do with me. He would have been particularly fed up not being able to go to music festivals and on holiday which he would have no doubt planned at the start of the year. He would be saying that 2020 has been lost while I would have been saying that it is not lost it will change how we all live, view and experience life in the future, and hopefully for the better. He would, of course, have arranged a meeting of friends in a park the minute we were told that it was ok to do so and would have had a mini-festival all of his own…
Living all of this time and watching the weeks, months and years pass by without Josh has been just that, watching. I have kept busy to the point of exhaustion and this has helped me to keep a distance from the excruciating pain that rises whenever I allow myself to ‘go there’. Mostly I feel like I am living my life behind a screen, not a thick one where I can’t see or hear more like a thin veil. While I work hard fighting injustices for victims of crime, challenging policymakers and helping others through our charity and trying to be the best that I can be, my veil which is loss, grief and PTSD is always there preventing me from seeing things like I used to before my place as a Mother to my son was taken from me.
Having said that and this may sound very odd and selfish of me but the fact that the whole of the world except for key workers are self-isolating has been somewhat of a comfort to me. While millions of us all over the world are not able to do all of the things that we have always taken for granted means that Josh is not the only one missing out. Every single day that I live to experience another day whether it is a good day or a bad day is a day that Josh doesn’t get to be a part of and so waking up to the peace, stillness and the slow pace of life and isolation helps me to feel closer to Josh. I have also been given the time that I needed to stop and reflect more about life without Josh and without all of the avoidance tactics that I would have ordinarily put in place. However, during this time of reflection, the lives that have been lost to Coronavirus have been unprecedented and incomprehensible and for those who were not allowed to be with their loved ones in their final moments is a travesty. I believe that in these cases exceptions could have been made. I like so many others know what it feels like to not be present for the final moments of your loved one’s life and it is an experience that you will never get over. And for every media account of another family going through this, it has brought back my own experience too as I am sure it has for many.
Humanity is going through massive changes all over the world changes that the majority of us are experiencing and seeing. I don’t mean the little token changes that we are used to witnessing to appease us but real life-changing events of a mass scale. More recently we have witnessed the inhumane treatment of one human being against another while others did nothing to stop it, this is something that happens all too often. How anyone has the right to apply such force and brutality is beyond me.
Millions of us witnessed George Floyd RIP, being deprived of breath, held down forcibly and in such a way that his life was taken from him. I could not watch the footage and I didn’t need to as the attitude and application in the early stages of arrest were enough for me. For every person who has lost their life to murder and brutality, I hope that they too get the justice that they rightly deserve. I have lived in Brent the most multicultural borough in the capital for most of my life and I like so many have experienced and witnessed injustices and the act of murder can never be tolerated no matter the colour of your skin. Brent has seen several lives lost through violence these past months and for each and every one of those untimely deaths, a family is left behind to live a life of pain. Our thoughts and prayers are with the many families of the victims during these difficult and challenging times.
We can make changes at all levels and these past few weeks have shown us that but we need to unite as one, we need to love and show compassion to one another in our daily lives ensuring that we can all say that we have done something good today no matter how small. We need to support one another because we are stronger in numbers and we need to come together and challenge what we know is not right for us and not right for future generations while holding those accountable for failing to support us. As well as the practical changes that we can make we need to be mindful of how we treat one another. Accept when we are wrong and learn from our mistakes and celebrate our ability to make positive changes in our world. We can make these changes by taking notice of what is happening around us educate ourselves and educate others to do the same and act early to raise awareness. Life is so short and as we have seen, it can change in the blink of an eye.
While The Josh Hanson Trust received no formal notice from Government to say that we are recognised as key workers we are and throughout this period of uncertainty we have continued to support families affected by serious violent crime. If you need any support, please get in touch by visiting our website. Take care and stay safe #fouryearseightmonths #unity #hope ???