From Francesca Di Fonzo, member of St Luke's Parent Forum

In the evening of 23 March 2020 the government put the nation on lockdown due to the rapid spread of a disease, Covid-19, which had already taken many lives in other parts of the world. On that evening the whole nation started a remarkable journey through various constrictions and emotions, at times contradictory, in order to control the Coronavirus.

Everything stopped as we were asked to stay home in order to stay safe and save lives. Almost two months on from that date, we all wish and wait the return to a more "normal life" . Whilst there are on going talks and attempts to achieve this, we can reflect on the experience we had so far.

I personally perceived the lockdown as a state of grace, a great opportunity! In fact when we entered the lockdown I felt really happy. For many years I longed so much for the whole world to come to an hault, to a standing still, for humans to slow down, for everybody to breathe out. I remember the silence that characterised the first part of the lockdown amid the incredulity that this "invisible enemy" was really happening in the UK as well. The exponentially increasing number of dead people and, amid these figures, the general growth of fear, confusion, anguish and sadness. I observed a variety of emotions within myself. However as it was a situation we could not change, I embraced it to try and make the most of it. I started to relax into this as I had not done in a long time. I explored more creative spaces and looked for different ways to live my days.

I have been spending a lot more time with my daughter developing together our own routine, where we would follow our dreams and wishes, whilst adapting to the new reality. So far it has been an incredible period where I rediscovered both mine and my daughter's talents. As we moved through phases of the lockdown more or less with clarity we took up many projects, mostly artistic ones, alone and within the community.

I have enjoyed each phase of the lockdown with the hope that humanity would be able to reflect on the general state of our world and society. If and when we will ever go back to our life before Covid-19 it would be good to look at the various things we learnt. The incredible capacity of humankind to adapt to a new reality is very helpful but alas it does seem we have been limited to the extreme in our core rights and often through terryfing fear and psychological mediatic and peer pressure.

At the prospective of a more eased way of life we sense an eagerness to just put all of this behind and to fix the world again as it was before the virus. We do know as for any traumatic experiences that through fear and uncertainty, we have already changed. I do hope though that there will be constructive changes ahead in the way we perceive life at its core. What have we done during the lockdown? What have we learnt about us, the others, about the various challenges that people in power endure to still run a country through such crisis?
As I said I welcomed the lockdown as an opportunity to spend time with my beloved daughter, no matter how intense that has been it has been a wonderful opportunity to go deeper into our loving relationship. To do more things together, to get to know each other better without too much of an external influence such as school and the different after school activities. As a fond supporter of homeschooling, creativity and childhood, I embraced this 'freedom' immensely. We painted, drew, cooked, baked, went for walks and hugged and climbed trees, read, wrote, partook to various projects on zoom, cried and laughed, hugged. In this context all these activities acquired an invaluable meaning and content.

Of course we had moments of profound sadness for the wider situation, for all the lost people, for our family and friends away in Italy, for the uncertainty of when we would be able to travel and visit them again. All the evidence indicating that through crisis we are all the same no matter what class, cultural and educational background. I hope that whatever we learnt from this lesson and whatever we observed, will stay with us. I hope that we have been able to experience calm, when we had fear and worries, company when we have felt lonely and isolated, love in times of discomfort and anxiety, and that we have all grown to appreciate sincerely the smallest things in our life. For example our own flat, by spending so much time inside it, that we got to know our neighbours a bit better, through the help they might or might not have offered. This has been a chance for deep observation and listening for everybody. I do hope that we all have been resourceful within ourselves. With the clarity and reassurance that is needed to go through life, I hope we are now able to navigate through the uncertain times ahead of us. Looking at various aspects of ourselves and getting creative in the kitchen, drawing, painting, dancing, writing, readings, starting a journal, taking up something we never had the time to before but always wanted to do, gardening, knitting, sewing, or simply resting.

However we will wake from this dramatic period, the hardest part has been the deeply rooted disbelief to have witnessed such a dramatic reality and recognise that this is also part of life, a life that too often fleets away without us paying too much attention. I do hope we will all be more aware and happier with what we have, how little it might be, I hope we will be more in touch with life which needs to be lived in a more harmonious and respectful way, within ourselves and the environment. That most of us will carry on our charitable attitude and we will still applaud others, especially those people that are always there for the others.

The lockdown has been a great opportunity to slow down, look into ourselves, look more deeply into our own living space, being more reflective, raise self awareness about our single and collective impact of our lives on Earth. I saw it as a chance to discover, re-discover, nurture and rest and most importantly as a reminder of the preciousness of our freedom, both of movement and expression.