Ipswich grandma reveals what she's missed the most after shielding for a year
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A couple from Rushmere St Andrew who isolated at home for a whole year say missing family celebrations was the hardest part their shielding experience.
Grandmother Ann Stacey has mild asthma and her husband has diabetes so on March 12, 2020, as coronavirus rates began to rise, they made the decision to shield at home - and they continued to do so until this week when shielding officially ended.
Ann, 75, who has four daughters, nine grandchildren and a great-grandchild on the way, said the catalyst for the decision to shield was when 19-year-old granddaughter Rosie became one of the first Brits to contract the virus back in early 2020.
The swimmer, who was in great health, had been on a trip abroad before she was struck down on her return to university in Nottingham and was bedridden for two weeks with coronavirus — leading Ann to realise she and 76-year-old husband Ron would likely be far worse off if they caught it.
Rosie was unlucky enough to catch it again in September when returning to university and was distressed to lose her sense of smell, taste and some of her hair.
The couple have stayed home for the past 13 months - despite receiving no official shielding letter.
"The thing we've missed the most while shielding was all the milestones," Ann admitted.
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"I turned 75, my grandson turned 18 and has only been to the pub twice, all these big moments slipped by and as you get older you begin to realise how little time you could have left.
"It was a lot mentally to have your whole life taken away as seeing our family is everything — we've even decided to move closer to our children because of it."
Ann and Ron qualified for Sainsbury's priority food deliveries and said they'll be sticking with it for good now, as supermarkets are just too risky.
The grandma speaks on the phone to her family every day, enjoying long phone calls to feel closer with those she's been separated from over the past year.
The couple bought a new TV and enjoyed doing jigsaws together to pass the time — though sometimes Ann said she woke up not knowing how she could possibly fill her day.
With at risk people being told they no longer need to shield, they're now taking baby steps in line with the rules and are thrilled to be seeing family members in the garden over the Easter weekend.
They're looking forward to restrictions easing and even have a tentative holiday booked for autumn.