‘Love will tear us apart’ by the Joy Division has certainly been brought to life for me and many others during the Coronavirus pandemic…

This is a tricky situation for me. Due to my chronic lung condition cystic fibrosis (CF)* I’m particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and I need to be shielded. Add into the mix that my wife, Katie, is a nurse at Epsom hospital, and the risks for me are off the scale.

I’ve been cheating death all my life surviving CF and now I’m desperately trying to avoid Covid-19 which would give me a hell of a rough ride if I was to contract it.

Replay of Tim Wotton: Act Like It's Your Last Day on Earth

As this crisis kicked off earlier this year, there were some ironies which were not lost on me. Notably around hand and face hygiene, which CF people monitor all their lives. Not so amusing is the dynamic that our consistent coughing in public is greeted with understandable suspicion that we are outside spreading the virus, when in fact we’re desperate to avoid it at all costs!

Torn apart

So with heavy heart, over seven weeks ago I had to leave my wife, 13 year old son Felix and cats in London to live in Southampton with my mum Margaret. Their love to keep me safe, alive and dodge this awful virus tore us apart.

I do endure tough times and have moments of pure sadness, where tears appear out of nowhere, and loneliness which can overwhelm me for certain periods. I except that this is natural and don’t get frustrated with myself. In normal life I rarely cry, but these emotions need to be released.

As much as technology is getting us through this in the form of Zoom and FaceTime to ‘see’ our loved ones, there are some conversations which are not easy when all you really need is a hug.

I miss my family very much and it’s challenging not to see them. Every morning I visualise giving them individual hugs and stroking the cats, which allows me to feel like I’m in my home with them.

The harsh fact for me is that until there’s a vaccine, I doubt I can return home. My positivity bias is strong so I am hopeful that these bright scientists around the world will find a suitable vaccine sooner rather than later – necessity has to be the mother of all invention.

Day at a time

In the meantime, I’m taking it day-by-day – using my gift of presence and the power of the mind to ‘mentally exercise’ every day alongside my physical activity.

For me, being close to nature is my anchor for stillness and peace. The abundance of birdsong in my mum’s garden, especially the melodic warbling of black birds, has been so helpful with my practice of deep breathing and meditation.

I’m lucky that my day job can be accomplished at home so that gives me structure Monday to Friday plus my caring mum and I are used to spending time together for my hideous IV treatments, so this is an extension of that.

Pretty much everyone is going to take a hit during this crisis or will have to sacrifice something (even the ultimate sacrifice of losing a loved one) so that keeps me grounded about not seeing my wife and son, despite the overwhelming sorrow I feel.

By coincidence, I keep hearing on the radio the 1980’s ABC song (some would say I only hear 80’s music) called ‘All of my Heart’ which has the poignant closing lyric “You’ll come home soon.”

Love has torn us apart but I’m forever hopeful that it will bring us back together again before too long.

I will keep you posted on my life-affirming moments, trials and tribulations as and when they happen. Please keep reading and sharing my blog and sign-up (on the right-hand side tab) if you have not already done so.

Yours cup half full.


Tim Wotton (author of Award-Winning CF Memoir ‘How have I cheated death?’)

Hear more of my thoughts on resilience via my own podcast ‘The Gift of resilience, calm & joy’. It’s available on most podcast platforms including AppleGoogle & Spotify. Do subscribe, listen and tell others. Thanks.

Worth a listen – I was a guest a few years ago on the Adam Cox’s Modern Mindset podcast, which has just been released on all podcast platforms and is a great interview.

* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,500 people. The condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with the condition, however, each week, three young lives are also lost to it. There is currently no cure for CF. However, existing gene therapy trials in the UK are bringing people with the illness closer to a form of cure but CF is not that well known and would benefit from more public donations. For more information and to find out more view the CF Trust Website.

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