Since the island’s borders were effectively closed in March, the Great Manx Public has been a bit split on when they should reopen and who should be allowed to travel. This week Gef has spoken to several people who have been affected by the mental strain of being apart, particularly at Christmas.
One woman said her son has applied twice to visit her and his elderly nans for Christmas but has been refused both times.
She said: ‘He was completely honest in his application, no-one was in hospital or near the end of life. His reasoning was that his two 80 plus grandmas hadn’t seen him in over a year and their health is not great in general.
‘He is also worried about me and my mental health because I had been balancing work and looking after his grandmas and husband. On top of this, his mental health was and is suffering because he missed and worried about us all (it’s been a year without us all being together).
‘The frustration is that he would have travelled here and just worked for his UK employer from my house for the two weeks in self isolation (as the whole house would have done) and then been allowed to come out of his room on Xmas Eve.
‘He doesn’t know anyone else here so no temptation to meet anyone or break any rules. He’s not Manx but he could’ve said he was a permanent resident or that he was ‘moving’ to the Isle of Man, or getting a job here he was just honest and truthful using the correct process and it didn’t get him anywhere.
Another woman told Gef of the strain of not being able to support her family during this difficult time.
She said: ‘My daughter lives on the island with my grandson. She’s recently been told he might be autistic and my daughter is beside herself with worry.
‘I can’t get there to support her. She has gone through a breakdown in her long term relationship.
‘As a Mum I just need to help her emotionally and physically and I can’t. It’s the hardest thing we’re all going through. I feel like I am failing as a mum. Not that she feels like that. But I do.
‘My grandson is now three. He spent three months in Alder Hey when he was born the doctors said he may have developmental issues. He is now showing these. I just want to help.’
We’ll have more stories from people who are separated from their families this Christmas in the coming days, if you’d like to share your experiences, contact Gef at firstname.lastname@example.org.