I was wrong last week. ‘Social distancing’ is not going to be the 2020 word of the year. It’s going to be ‘cocooning’. I had to look it up and learned that it was first used in 1981 by no other than Faith Popcorn. (I mean, if your surname is ‘popcorn’ which responsible parent would call you ‘faith’? And then you invent ‘cocooning’ working as a trend forecaster…)

Pádraig is fine, was it not for his femor/hip and the muscle(s) not holding the two together tightly and in place. And the helpless feeling of not knowing if there is anything we could do to help him getting better.

This is not the only problem we have come across since his accident where I thought “this must have happened to other people before, there must be someone with the knowledge and experience to tell us what to do” and then there wasn’t. So he keeps exercising and we keep trying our best to help him. We keep learning and we hope that the hip will get better again.

We are so happy to be together. The weather is getting warmer and Pádraig sits out in the garden almost every day, on sunnier days with an ice cream, listening and contributing to our chats. With summer time starting today, there will be a noticeable longer stretch in the evenings.

I miss the whole family being together and each time one of Pádraig’s siblings calls in, keeping their distance, it’s really nice though necessarily short. About once a week, his friends have what used to be called a videoconference and Pádraig really enjoys taking part in that, helped by one of his sisters. It’s now called ‘Houseparty’ and it’s a ‘group video chat’ by a company called ‘Life on Air Inc.’ I’ve seen it working a little and from a distance, but mostly hear the laughter and animated conversations from somewhere else in the house.

During the week, we tried out what 8D music sounds like. If you haven’t already, try it on Spotify or whatever you use for music, best with headphones. It’s amazing. A bit like 1975 Bohemian Rhapsody on steroids.

We still have to ask Pádraig for his opinion, we’re still trying to find ways for him to take the initiative to intervene – though I wonder whether we are always attentive enough to notice when he (undoubtedly) does.

Pádraig’s carers are thankfully still supporting him and us, being very responsible and diligent about keeping their distance from groups, washing their hand, and following all the other guidelines.

So if ‘cocooning’ was invented in 1981 why do I think it will become the 2020 word of the year?

Because in 1981 it described an action, an attitude, something people chose to disconnect from the crazy world around them, it was something nice and cosy.

Today, it’s a government restriction imposed on the over 70s and the vulnerable “living in their own home, with or without additional support or in long-term residential facilities”, officially since last Friday, but effectively in operation since at least the previous week.

It’s not cocooning, nice’n cosy and by choice.

If you’re over 70, or if you had a severe Acquired Brain Injury, or if you are living in a nursing home, you can’t go out nor should you have visitors. You might find it hard to understand why all of a sudden life around you has come to a complete standstill.

Luckily, I am still under 70. So I went out for a walk in this new quiet, unpolluted, isolated world early this morning. My imagination took me away.

I woke up and heard my mate calling me from a distance
so far that I had forgotten it existed.
It was bright but the cars below our nest
were parked and silent.
It was day but the city was asleep.`
What had happened?

I swam up the river and saw all its turns in the distance
so far that I had forgotten it existed.
The light was shining right down to the river bed
through the clear unpolluted water.
No plastic bags, no industrial waste.
What had happened?

I looked out the port hole and saw the earth’s cities in the distance,
so many more than I had remembered existed.
The clear atmosphere revealing the Earth again
as Major Tom had seen it first.
Smog was lifting, the oceans blue again
What had happened?

Rays of light made its way through the tiny window in my room
so little that I could just make out its deserted outline.
My fingers can’t press the button.
My voice is silent.
Is anybody out there to be with me, to explain
What has happened?