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So Near, Yet So Far…

Absolutely everyone has a story to tell on how this pandemic is impacting their lives. You see, tomorrow is the day that our son and his beautiful fiancé were due to marry – Saturday 28th March 2020. Instead, we are in lockdown, protecting our health and the health of others, and even though you may not read this, I’m going to write about the events of the last three weeks – call it therapy.

Coronavirus impacted our family for the first time with the realisation that our international visitors were going to miss the wedding due to the mandatory 14 day quarantine on arrival into Australia. Two sets of grandparents, an uncle, a friend and a groomsman had to cancel their trips.

Following our Government’s advice to avoid all international travel, the bride and groom had no choice but to cancel their honeymoon trip to Bali. We picked ourselves up, dusted off the disappointment, and forged ahead with plans for the wedding minus international guests and the prospect of a domestic honeymoon which isn’t bad at all given the beautiful and diverse nature of this wonderful country we live in.

A few days later, the Australian Government announced a reduction to the number of people who could attend a social gathering to 100 – that was okay; with a guest list hovering around the 80 mark, we would be okay. Next came the reduction to the number of people who could gather at events inside to a maximum of 50 – we’d either cull the guest list or have the event outside; Autumn in the Adelaide Hills is a wonderful time of year. By then, it was looking increasingly unlikely that the wedding venue would be able to host the wedding, given further restrictions to licenced premises.

The real panic started to set-in when Australian states and territories, decided to close borders; the first being the Northern Territory; with only four cases of Coronavirus at the time, they wanted to keep it that way. The bride’s mother lives in Darwin (NT) and this new restriction would mean 14 days self-isolation on her return flight.

I was due to fly to Adelaide two days before the wedding and Chief the day before. Imagine our panic when last Sunday, the South Australian Government announced that it too was closing its borders at 4 pm Tuesday 25th March, and every arrival after that point in time would have to self-isolate for 14 days! We just had to get to Adelaide before this border control was enforced. I was able to change my flight to Monday 24th and flew to Adelaide before the border closure came into being. Chief was not so lucky and neither too the bride’s mother whose flight was cancelled, and was left frantically looking for an alternative option.

So now I’m in Adelaide with our children and although I felt calmer being with them, nothing felt right. Deep down I knew this was not going to have a favourable outcome. How much worse could this get? I’ll tell you.

The accommodation booked for the bridal party decided to cancel and turf them out, the reason being the hosts wanted it for their own family to stay in. These are not the sort of issues a bride and groom-to-be should be dealing with the week before their wedding. Shouldn’t it be deciding who to sit Great Aunt Nelly next to, and ironing out the speeches and vows?

We decided it was time to put a Plan B into action; a new venue (an Airbnb property with a spacious garden) just for close family – a little ‘do’ in the garden; there was a lovely view, the weather forecast was favourable, we could easily hire tables and chairs and the family guests could BYO booze and a plate to share (a plate to share is an Australian term for a plate of food to share; not to be confused with a lack of crockery!)

What else could possibly stand in the way of these nuptials? I’ll tell you.

On Tuesday evening our Prime Minister announced that wedding ceremonies were to be limited to a maximum of 5 people; that’s the couple, a celebrant and two witnesses. With a celebrant who has recently given birth, and rightly so, taking health precautions, no bride’s mother and no groom’s father, no grandparents, minus a groomsman, no venue and no guests, the wedding was kind of ‘off’. This left the only option of heading to the local registry office to wed and that may well still be an option, leaving the celebrations for when the world returns to ‘normal’ whatever that is going to look like.

I cannot begin to describe the disappointment we are all feeling right now; it is so sad; the stress, the anxiety is all up there, like a tight-rope walker with no safety net, we are feeling it.

I had planned to stay in Adelaide for just under three weeks, spending a few days holiday with my parents and in-laws, culminating in our daughter’s graduation; I’ve never been to a graduation ceremony. I was not clever enough to go to university, needless to say, I was so looking forward to that – I know that I would have burst with pride and turned into an annoying social media mother, showing off my daughter’s achievements; my moment to be proud. All of this, as our lives, has been put on indefinate hold.

The Queensland government locked down borders while I was in Adelaide, so now on my return, I’ll be self-isolating for 14 days; ‘self-isolate’ a term we were not at all familiar with until a few weeks ago. I received notice that my scheduled return flight on 3rd April had been cancelled and that I would receive a voucher to use at a later date; this was a worry – did it mean that I was to remain in Adelaide for the forseeable future? I called our national airline and after a hold time of just shy of three hours, managed to get myself on a flight the following day.

I know that you are wondering why the wedding wasn’t just postponed when the plans all started to fall apart; why put your health and the health of others at risk? – such a selfish attitude! Maybe it was naive of us to think we could go ahead with a little bit of ‘normal’ at a time when life isn’t normal, and in the hope of not losing out on a large financial commitment in these uncertain times.

As I write this, I am flying however-many-thousands-of-feet above Australia in a near-empty plane heading to my confined lock-down for a couple of weeks. Chief and I will be living in different rooms, our children in a different state and our parents in a different country. We will do our best to restrict the contact we have with each other and the contact we have with the people around us, knowing that in all of this disappointment, our health and the health of our most vulnerable citizens is of paramount importance. So while we follow the directions of our authorities and look to new ways of keeping in touch with our loved ones, work colleagues and neighbours, it’s time to take stock, to put on hold two year’s worth of plans, to appreciate our health, to pray that none of us go down with this deadly virus, and to appreciate that love really will conquer all.

18 replies on “So Near, Yet So Far…”

I read your post and I can feel what you went through reading it. So sorry to hear of all the stress and cancellations. My husband and i got married last year and although it was a very small simply wedding there was still some anxiety leading up to it and I can only imagine multiplying that up in size, location and with all the changes you have had to deal with. It’s not selfish at all, this virus has impacted so many people in many different ways. I hope that whenever they marry they find a way to celebrate their love and that at some point in the future you can all celebrate this together and enjoy the freedoms of travel and being together once more .

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Hi Lorna, thanks so much for taking the time to read my post. There certainly is a lot of stress associated with wedding planning (I remember my own only too well!) and you can see, it’s just been one thing after another. We have certainly learned resilience. We will make sure that when they do eventually celebrate, it will be a fantastic celebration of love and also family and friends – we’ll be ready for that by then won’t we? Stay healthy 🙂

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We are so sorry for all involved Lucy, but as you say health and safety rules over all else. Wishing you all good health, stay safe and sending big hugs and love from us all 😍😍😘😘

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What a rollercoaster Lucy, sad, stressfully , so much disappointment for you all. One day soon this will all be over, you will have a wonderful wedding and graduation day and look back at the last few weeks with a rueful smile. Live to you all.

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A very raw deal. Some people are getting ripped off far more than others. For my son, all is fine (AND no school). For his sister, a school trip cancelled, rugby season cancelled, and she can’t visit any of her colleges before making a choice in May. Probably (although I hope not), when all is done around July 2021, these things I’ve listed will seem trivial. It’s a shame your kids need to miss out on such an important day. Hope they get some money back so they can throw some sort of celebration in the future.

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Thanks Jeff. We will be a resilient lot when all this is over that’s for sure! Sorry to hear your daughter can’t visit any colleges – I hope she can have a virtual tour at least although not quite the same. Take care 😊

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Hi Lucy, I feel for you and your family. Right now all of this feels surreal – like the world has gone crazy, like everything we know and take for granted has been pulled out from under us and (I fear) this wave we’re all riding hasn’t even crested yet. Strange times indeed, but, as you’ve said, our health and that of our most vulnerable citizens is of paramount importance. It’s going to be hard, and our disappointments many and varied, but I wish you many more joys and celebrations in the not too distant future. Take care and stay safe 😊

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Hi Clare, yes it really is surreal and sometimes I feel like I’m in a Hollywood movie! As I mentioned, everyone will have a story to tell from this, and far more will have a tragic, traumatic one to tell than mine. and you stay safe and healthy too!

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Yes! Here’s to happy stories on the flip-side – apologies for taking a while to respond, I’ve been changing the theme of my blog and it’s been all-consuming! Hope you are healthy and not going stir crazy just yet x

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New themes are all consuming and sometimes I still find things that aren’t working properly more than a year down the track. Have fun with it all 😊. We are well and healthy and have had to put our business on hold. Today was our last day 😕 but at least we can just pick up again when everything is back to (a new) normal.

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Hi Lucy, I know we’re not rowing this boat solo and (like many others) we take a little comfort in knowing the zgovt will provide us with some financial support. As you’ve said, keeping well and healthy is the priority. Wishing that for you and yours also 🙂

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I feel so sorry reading this for so many reasons Lucy, but mainly as a mother who has had two weddings from 3 daughters and attended 3 graduations. I was one of ‘those mothers’ bursting with pride and I feel so sad that you didn’t get to do any of it as you had planned. It has hit many people in lots of unexpected ways hasn’t it? My daughter gave birth just before lockdown and we were just able to leave Qld before it got to late to get home in southern NSW. She has suffered from isolation and loneliness, unsure of what she’s doing as a new mum and missing contact with other new mothers. Since then we’ve just been staying home and getting out on our bikes for rides on the rail trail when we can. I hope you can have a celebration some time down the track. Take care.

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Yes, we all have a personal story to tell from 2020 that’s for sure! It would be terribly isolating for your daughter – I can remember what that time is like and not being able to see her mum and other new mums would be hard. We will certainly be having a big celebration. They have just scheduled in 11th December but even that might be too soon – we just don’t know do we? Enjoy your bike rides 🙂

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