Heading to locked down London on a long-haul mid-pandemic flight with my two primary school aged kids wasn’t top of my wish list this Christmas. But 2020 really is the gift that just keeps on giving.
With overseas travel banned for Australians right now we are in the unfortunate position of having to leave the safety of our relatively covid-free shores for Europe - where the virus is once again wreaking havoc. Cities are being plunged back into lockdown as the infection rate and death tolls reach horrifying new levels.
Our family is split across the globe and the travel ban has meant my children - Olivia, 9 and Alfie, 8, haven’t been able to see their father since January.
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Their Dad, Geoff, lives in London, which has just gone back into lockdown, while the children live with me in Brisbane. When he got the news in October that his cancer had returned, devastatingly the doctors told him the children should come to the UK “sooner rather than later”.
He was diagnosed with leukaemia three years ago and has been in and out of remission since then. This this time feels different though and I can hear on the phone how desperate he is to see them.
While the doctors haven’t used the word terminal I know that they haven’t promised he will make his 52nd birthday. He is waiting to see if he can get on a trial before the new year but until then it’s more radiotherapy and chemotherapy to try and get him back into remission.
After weeks of heartbreaking phone calls with him we put in an application to the Australian government to leave the country on compassionate grounds. I attached letters from Geoff’s doctors and we had permission within two hours.
I won’t lie and say I was happy. I was out shopping with my Mum and burst into floods of tears in TK Maxx. The combination of picturing the kids saying goodbye to their Dad, the whole flying in a pandemic thing and the chances of me getting sick, while worrying about the kids losing their father has left me in a pretty dark place for the past few weeks.