• Ruth Towell

Lockdown Reflections - Gemma

Updated: Jun 19

As we are standing on the turning point of the lockdown being eased in the UK, I decided to embark on a new portrait project. Capturing this moment in time, with reflections from individuals about this season and thoughts about how a post-lockdown world might look.

Each portrait is a window into an individual's life, shot through the window of their home capturing the invisible separation that lockdown brings.

This is Gemma, have a read of her story:

"I’m a part-time retail assistant at H&M and a freelance photographer. I was furloughed from my job in retail at the end of march, which is one of the ways lockdown has effected my life.

There are 5 of us in the house, my parents, brother and sister. We all came down with COVID-19, the symptoms were minimal for my brother, sister and I, but for my parents it looked different.

The first two weeks of lockdown in my house looked almost like its own hospital, with my parents on bed rest and me and my sister running the house. My mum was able to recover, but for my dad it didn’t look that way, being someone who fell into the vulnerable category his symptoms started to increase, which resulted to him being taken into hospital.

At the start, COVID-19 was something alien just on the news, but it started to feel very real when that virus went from being on a screen to being in my own home. Seeing dad leave and not knowing if he was going to come out as well as seeing him afraid not being able to be there with him as a family, just instantly inflicted fear on us as a whole. In a moment everything stopped but it was in that moment for us that God showed up.

A friend of dads drove round and we all stood outside the ambulance and prayed together before it left. We had our family from all over, our friends, and even their friends all standing alongside us throughout the week. It was a very silent and restless week of not knowing and having no control in the outcome. I don’t think anyone in my home or my four other siblings homes slept for that whole week. Everything just stopped and I almost waited with desperate hope that things would turn around.

Thankfully dad had amazing doctors who were in constant communication with us, going above and beyond in making sure he recovered well. We were covered in community, prayer and the love of people in a time that felt so disconnected and distant. By the Sunday he was home, but it still meant another week of isolation, another experience that was new and very disorientating.

To be sat at the table on Easter Sunday, two weeks to the day when dad went in to hospital, and being asked to pass the roasties by the same person we weren’t sure would be there to join us, really put in to perspective how important each day is. It showed me the blessing of life, the power of prayer, the importance of community. And just how thankful we should be to those in the NHS and those who have been out on the frontline risking themselves to help people like us."

Each day during lockdown, Gemma has been designing, drawing and sharing short quotes of encouragement and inspiration. Here's one she handpicked to accompany this story:

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If you are interested in taking part in this project and live in the Peterborough area, drop me an email: ruthtowellprojects@gmail.com

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© 2020 Ruth Towell