Opinion

There’s nothing like a hug from Mum

By Jessica Ball

It's been 124 days since I last hugged my mum.

When she pulled out of my driveway in early January, the COVID-19 pandemic was yet to hit Australia.

There was no talk of the social distancing, isolation and travel bans that are now a part of everyday conversation.

It's been 61 days since I've seen my mum in person.

By then things were changing; when she asked for a sip of my drink I said no, when she went to hug me goodbye I jumped away.

As the recipient of a failed kidney transplant in November, my mum diligently goes to hospital three days a week for dialysis.

She is in the at-risk category and a hug from Mum isn't worth that risk.

From there things started changing rapidly and it quickly became clear I wouldn't be seeing her for a while.

These past months all I've wanted to do is wrap her in cotton wool and hide her away from this deadly disease.

Coronavirus would kill my mum, and as stories of doctors having to choose who to treat started to come out of Italy, I feared a dialysis patient wouldn't be high on the list for treatment.

She is the bravest woman I know — she has fought harder than most to stay alive and the threat of a global pandemic feels unfair.

My mum is the reason COVID-19 terrifies me.

My mum is the reason I stay home.

My mum is the reason I won't be running to the pub if it were to reopen tomorrow (and I love the pub).

This Mother's Day I'll be attempting to Skype her and keeping my fingers crossed she's learnt how to get the video and sound working at the same time.

It won't be the same, but the best gift I can give my mum this year is to stay away.

I am happy to wait another 124 days or whatever it takes until I can hug my mum again — and when I do, I will know I'm not an asymptomatic carrier giving her a death sentence.