A care nurse has described her heartbreak at being separated from her two-year-old son for seven weeks and only being able to see him through a window during the coronavirus lockdown.
Care quality nurse, Charlotte Cole made the “agonising” decision to move her son, George, to her parents’ home at the beginning of April after a confirmed coronavirus case at one of her workplaces.
As both Charlotte, who oversees seven care homes, and her husband Daniel, a data analyst, are both key workers, grandparents Bridget, 55, and Robert Younger, 65, who live five minutes away, are currently caring for the toddler.
Speaking about the moment they decided to move their son, mother-of-one Charlotte said: “It was an extremely difficult decision to make.
“No mum would want to be put in that situation – we agonised and tried to put it off for as long as we could.
“Sadly the decision was made for us when I found out that some of the residents and colleagues at the homes were experiencing symptoms of the virus.”
To keep in touch Charlotte and Daniel, both 30, make alternate daily trips to visit George, FaceTime regularly and are able to go together on a weekend.
“It’s always very emotional when we go to visit because he doesn’t understand why we have to leave him,” Charlotte explains.
“But I try to look on the positive side that at least we can see him – even though it’s through the window. It’s better than not being able to see him at all.”
Initially the couple thought the lockdown might only last a couple of weeks, but two further extensions has meant they’re missing their son more than they imagined.
“It is tough, we have our down days but Daniel and I just try to support each other,” Charlotte, from Kirkham, Lancashire, explains.
“The house is extremely quiet and tidy and I really miss doing the little things with George.”
Despite the impact it is having on her own family, Charlotte wants to urge people to continue following the government advice ahead of lockdown restrictions easing.
“I’m very fortunate my parents don’t live too far away especially when you hear about the stories of parents struggling to arrange childcare,” she says.
“If my parents weren’t here then George would have to be at home which would make me worry more than I normally do.
“Mum and dad are incredibly supportive. I cannot thank them enough.”
When her parents’ next door neighbour, and professional photographer, Pete Ashton, 45, spotted the daily visits he asked Charlotte if she would like him to take pictures as a record of the moment for the family.
Commenting on capturing the emotional moment when the couple visited their son on 10 May, he said: “When Charlotte and Daniel arrived and walked down the short drive to the front window George lit up.
“His smile was full of happiness - it was beautiful to watch.
“To share in their precious but short time together was both humbling and joyful. It’s something I won't forget for a long time.”
The images have been entered into the Hold Still competition – a project headed by the Duchess of Cambridge which aims to capture the life of the nation during the pandemic.