Lockdown Letters: From father to daughter

Covid-19, Mental Health

Separated by more than 9,000 miles, father and daughter David and Rebecca Adams pen letters, reflecting on their relationship, and the things they do to feel close while living on opposite sides of the world

Since lockdown began in March 2020, a lot of us will be missing our loved ones as we’re forced to find new ways to stay in touch. But for those living a long way away from their families, the challenges are magnified. Here, father and daughter David and Rebecca Adams write letters, reminiscing on the past and looking to the future when they will be reunited once again.

Rebecca

I have always been a go-getter, and many have called me ambitious. Watching my mother pass away at a young age taught me that life is too short, and to make the most of it. I moved out of my Melbourne family home at 22 years old, to move to Canberra, Australia for my first real radio job. I was over the moon and excited to begin my career in the entertainment industry.

Moving out for the first time is hard enough, but having no help from anyone in another state all by yourself is very scary, and I had a lot of lonely nights. But this experience made me more independent, and taught me to only rely on myself and not my father who literally did everything for me before.

I am now 27 years old and living in London having moved to the UK in 2018. Despite still being independent, I am now in a time where I feel I need my family more than ever, and this it’s near impossible, not only due to the current pandemic but because of the time difference. Moving to London was one of the biggest life decisions I have ever made in my entire life, not because of it being another country or not knowing how to adjust to the different lifestyle, but because the people who I would turn to when I was down were not easy to be found.

I remember being in my hotel room when I moved and thinking: ‘Wow. I am in another country, all by myself with no job. I could literally die and no one would find out.’ Two years later, I feel I did a great job to fend for myself, having got jobs in places I could only dream of. I have suffered from anxiety for pretty much my entire adulthood, but nothing could compare it to having episodes on the other side of the world, away from your close support networks.

David and Rebecca

David and Rebecca

Since moving to the UK, despite having done such amazing things and meeting some amazing people, my mental health has definitely been affected. I talk to my father nearly every day about my issues, and also my best friend in Australia –I really do not know what I would do without their constant support. I have been scared, I have cried, I have been angry, I have lost hope and as much as it’s been great to have my father and best friend only a phone call away, it’s definitely not the same as being with them face-to-face.

My father and I made a deal that I would visit Australia once a year, and he would visit me the other year, just so we could physically see each other. My father was due to see me this September but, unfortunately, we are in a situation where that was impossible due to the current pandemic. This has really upset us, just like many around the world. I just want to hug my family, my friends, my loved ones, but I can’t. This has made me cry to sleep at night and has made me very anxious to the point where it takes over my entire day.

What we have learned during this time, and has helped us cope, is to live day by day and review things on a monthly basis. We also talk every day and FaceTime regularly, but it’s still not the same. I have learned you need to be positive no matter the situation and my dad being the overly positive man that he is, is definitely a plus.

I’ve had many highs and many lows since living in the UK, but for some reason the lows do way out the highs, one in particular is working for some horrible people. I know it breaks my dad’s heart to see me upset, and he does feel helpless as he can’t just drive over to see me to cheer me up. This has been the biggest toll on our relationship, and I’m not going to lie, it is very difficult.

My dad took on the responsibility of becoming a mother as well as a father after my mum passed away. Despite being a wonderful parent, we’ve had our share of problems which ended up with us not speaking for over three months. I was still living in Canberra at this point and now, in 2020, I can’t imagine going a day without speaking with him.

David and Rebecca

David and Rebecca

David

My darling daughter Rebecca left home at 22 to go live in Canberra four years ago. I wasn’t very surprised by this happening, as Rebecca has always been determined to do something worthwhile with her life. She is very creative as she has always liked to write stories and has been singing since she was eight years old. When Rebecca left home at 22, it made me reflect on my own youth as I left home at the same age to start my career as a teacher.

Rebecca lived in Canberra for two years. During that time we were in frequent contact. We spoke regularly on the phone and we were able to see each other every few months as Canberra is only a short one hour flight from Melbourne. Rebecca would come home for weekends, or I would visit her. During her last 10 months in Canberra, I visited her four times, the last time helping her to shift back to Melbourne. Rebecca enjoyed her time in Canberra, she made new friends, wrote songs and sang in a band.

David and Rebecca

David and Rebecca

The biggest change in Rebecca’s life happened on September 18th, 2018 when she left to live in London. This was a massive move on her behalf, as she was leaving Australia to live on the other side of the world. She was leaving behind her family and friends to further her career in the entertainment industry, which is her passion in life. I thought the move to London was incredibly brave and is something I would never have done myself at her age. She does have relatives who live in Wales, but apart from them she was leaving everyone else she knows behind. Rebecca has been in employment almost continuously in London since she has lived there, which has been a wonderful achievement for her.

The hardest thing for me as a parent to accept is the fact that l can’t see her much any more. I did spend four weeks with her at the end of 2018, and Rebecca did come home for two weeks in November last year. We do talk on the phone nearly every day and on the weekends we always have FaceTime chats. However, it’s not the same as seeing her personally.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation even worse, as I was planning to visit her in London in September this year. It is very difficult as a parent not to be physically there for your child at such a terrible time. Rebecca does suffer from anxiety, largely as a result of her mother’s early death from breast cancer. I wish I could be with her at this time, and give her a big hug but I can’t which is very frustrating.

Rebecca is very strong and I know she will get through this difficult time. The pandemic will ease, and I will visit her in 2021.

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