I wanted to be with my mother. But unfortunately, I am not, because the country where she lives has been put on the list of risk countries. That was a shock for me. My mother is approaching the age of 80, is widowed and although she is very independent, she needs help. I promised to visit her in September and to help her in the house and garden where it is necessary. When I received the message that the country would be on the quarantine list from Monday on, I first had to find out what this meant. The measures are draconian. For 10 days in isolation after the return and that even without symptoms and even if the corona-test is negative. In order not to endanger my son, I would have to stay in my room for 10 days.
My room is not big. If I had to put the desk in to work for these 10 days, it would be very small. 10 days, 240 hours in a small room without any possibility to go outside, to move, to hug my son – I can’t stand it. That was immediately clear to me. I am an active person and I cope with the pressure of everyday life by swimming, running or cycling. I can’t stand to be locked up for 10 days in a very small space without suffering damage. The windows cannot be opened – comfort ventilation. And so, I would be 10 days in a room without any relation to the outside world.
It seemed very unfair to me. My mother is in a big house in a scattered settlement. The next inhabited house is 400m away and the youngest one in the settlement is approaching 60. There is no store, restaurant or meeting place in the village. There has never been a case of corona there and the probability of getting infected where you talk to the neighbor about their hedge is almost 0 compared to the place where I live. But a law, a regulation knows no nuance and hardly any shades. It is just the way it is, even if it makes no sense.
When I heard the news that the country was on the risk list, I felt physically sick and I was close to tears. I knew I would not be driving because I could not stand the quarantine. The feeling of breaking the word I had given my mother to help her with everything she would need tore my heart apart. It is true that I could pay someone to come, to prepare the garden for winter, to help my mother turn the mattress in bed, to take care of the summer clothes or to put the wood for heating near the kitchen. But I can’t pay anyone to hug my mother and give her the confidence that we will get through this difficult time together. That there will be better times again. She is all alone and I can only support her via telephone or video conference. But they hardly allow any real closeness. Never in my life could I have imagined how difficult such decisions could be. And it is a disgusting feeling to let your mother down.
The regulation is unfair. I can go to Geneva and celebrate the nightlife (at least until Wednesday) but I am not allowed to visit my mother without drastic consequences. The region where she lives is unfortunately of no importance for the geopolitical interest of Switzerland and does not provide nurses for Swiss hospitals.
When I told my mother, she started to cry, and I kept silent in response so I would not start to cry and make her even more insecure. After the conversation, I had to get out to move around, so I wouldn’t become insane or depressed. I took my stand-up paddle and paddled across the lake. I probably broke the speed record because there was so much frustration inside me that I paddled as if it was a matter of life and death. After 2 hours I felt a little better. Suddenly I saw how many beetles were fighting for their lives in the lake. No idea from where they came and how they landed in the middle of the lake. So, I started the rescue operation. I fished them out of the water and put them on my paddle board to dry. But as soon as they were strong enough, some of them fell back into the water. “Not like that”, I thought and changed my rescue strategy. I packed them in my small backpack so that I could carry them safely to the shore. Once they reached the shore, I released them back into freedom.
I could help the beetles, but unfortunately not my mother.