I must level with you, level with the British public

In the days before the world shuts down, my grandmother dies.

While you are filling trollies with toilet paper and dried lentils, we hold her hands,

folded like origami swans, in our laps.

We wait.

We watch the passing of time. Stare as it hollows out the day.


                                                                  For the moment, things are as they have been


Her dying is an oasis – two up, two down.

On the kitchen wall, a shopping list, unfinished, curls in the dampness of too

many bodies under one roof.

As if her living is only paused.

As if time itself has stretched so thin the hours become transparent.


                       Many families, many more families, will lose loved ones before their time


She asks for cups of tea until the words swell and lose their form, their sound, until

there are no more sentences or syllables.

White china mugs, their surfaces cloudy, rest on the windowsills.

They chart her journey from kitchen to bedroom, and we leave them there,

Scattered, overnight, like breadcrumbs, in the hope she will return.


                                                                                      As of 9am on Monday 16th March –


The window in her bedroom looks out over a park and a wide lake. There are

Canadian Geese on the water now and spring is on the turn.

Planes have stopped flying overhead.

She has lived here almost her entire life, observed so much change in one vessel.

We stand beside the window and wonder if we will ever stay put long enough to find a

view we can know every inch of.


                                     We must apply downward pressure, further downward pressure


Her dying arrives quickly. It trips us over in its haste to enter in the room,

but her leaving – that is slow and incremental.

Long nights, lost vision, morphine swimming through her veins delicate as eggshells,

– this is something I didn’t understand before, the way the world will slip away from

her body first, and not the other way around.


                                                                                                   We aim to flatten the curve