I barely recognised my mother when I saw her in the hospital bed the night she died. It had been many months since we were last able to meet, when she was still a force of nature. Now there was almost nothing left of her. The death certificate records that Elizabeth Carol Chamberlain died of dementia and kidney disease aged 88. But it was lockdown that really killed her.
For my parents, like so many people of their generation living out their later years in care homes, lockdown offered not protection but imprisonment. ‘It’s cruel,’ Mam would say, over and over again, in the painful and awkward phone calls that we shared over the last year or so. ‘Just cruel.’ ‘What have you been doing?’ ‘Nothing. Staring at the walls.