Last Monday morning Pam and I arrived home from Australia and now we are in splendid self-isolation.
At a time like this we have to rely on each other to survive. In our penitentiary we have relied on family and friends to supply us with food and staple supplies. Like cream and biscuits. Shopping is left at the front door. It’s an uncanny experience. It’s so much easier to give than it is to take. It’s a large slice of humble pie!
Being unable to hug anybody other than each other is a real penalty for us, a very touchy family. Making sure that everybody is coping is essential. Our son Tim, who is a community palliative care nurse in Melbourne, has been told to be based from his home until at least August. That will be tough for somebody living on their own in a front-line job working every day with the dying.
I had a text from my 12-year-old granddaughter yesterday. She said she didn’t understand everything which Jacinda Ardern had said in her broadcast to the public. I rang her and explained my understanding of what Jacinda had said. I saw this as an important role for me, a person just a year younger than the cut-off point established by the Government yesterday, to explain to somebody who is growing up in a world so, so different from the world options she had just this time last year.
This phone call made me recall the lives of my parents. Mum’s family lived in Hastings at the time of the Napier earthquake. Her best friend at school was killed. The family moved out of the district because her father, an Irishman, refused to scab during the freezing workers strike in the early 1930’s. Then the family experienced the depression and a World War. My father’s father was killed working on a work gang constructing the new air field at Palmerston North. Dad was the oldest in the family, and so he started an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic, in order to assist his mother to feed the family.
Mum and Dad met in the Air Force in the Second World War.
With this level of instability in the NZ community, the role of the state was essential. The Governments of the time rose to the challenge and provided that stability. Now that time is back. Our children and grandchildren deserve great leadership. We’re getting it right now but more about that later.
So, my text from Tilly yesterday really made me realise that those of us who have a few kilometres of life behind us can’t just sit back and be pathetic. This child has had a life of interruption. She has experienced the destruction of our City through earthquakes. Her family home was demolished. She attends a school, with a large Muslim community, which was devastated by the Mosque murders. She will enter the workforce in a world for which none of us have immediate solutions.
Climate change is here and how we climb back from this is another challenge. Tilly’s generation will inherit our efforts to sort this issue out.
We have a role as people committed to considering public policy, and so, over the next year, or two, the Tuesday Club will play with ideas of how we can stand alongside our local community.