Hello from the other side! Our family's in iso – part 2

Today marks the last day of isolation for the Legge family. For the past week, Sarah and Andrew, their four children – twins Emily and Charlotte (17), Ethan (14) and Alice (12) – and their dog, Chewy, have been isolating in their Sydney home. Only Andrew is COVID positive, but as close contacts, the whole family must remain shut-in. Sarah tells Eternity about their “weird” week in close quarters.

Our family had just got back from a week’s holiday in northern NSW when my husband Andrew started to experience some COVID symptoms. He went for a PCR test, which confirmed that he had COVID. Thankfully, he had put a mask on the minute he felt unwell and kept away from everybody.

The rest of the family went and got tested first thing the next morning and, unbelievably and in God’s incredible mercy, we all got a PCR test with no problem whatsoever and we all got the results back within the day. We were all negative.

I am so thankful that it happened when it has. Because we had only just got back from holidays (where we were by ourselves), we had only seen a couple of people [while Andrew was possibly contagious]. We hadn’t dropped in and visited my parents or any other elderly friends. And the kids and I weren’t out and about, doing the many things we usually do. Normally, we’d see heaps of people each week.

Isolation is obviously not what we had planned for our second week of annual holidays. We were just going to hang out at home, but we’ve ended up doing a lot more of it than we’d hoped!

What has the past week been like for your family?

It’s been harder than previous [COVID] lockdowns because we can’t even walk around the block. I do have more of a trapped feeling than I had in lockdown, but nothing like what Andrew is experiencing. He is literally trapped in one room – our bedroom upstairs, while the rest of us are living downstairs.

I keep wondering if it would have been better, in some ways, if we’d all just tested positive. Then we could have all just lived in the house together all the time and not worried about the rest of us catching COVID.

Now we’re in this very odd situation where it feels like Andrew is a lodger in his own home. We just deliver food to his door.


Isolated Andrew looks out from the upstairs window

What have been the greatest challenges?

We’re a very physically affectionate family. So, even though it sounds a bit crazy, it’s been really hard not being able to do that. The kids and I have been very cautious; we haven’t been staying away from each other, but we certainly haven’t been kissing and hugging like we normally would. It’s been very strange not being able do that. So even though we’re all right here, I feel a bit distant from everyone.

Have there been any unexpected blessings during this time of isolation?

I went back to work [in the health sector] on Monday, which would have been so stressful two years ago. I would have had to cancel all my appointments and just taken sick leave. Whereas now, I just saw all my clients via telehealth appointments. I tuned in from home and nobody batted an eyelid.

So we really have adapted and changed over these last two years. Andrew has also been working completely remotely.

In what ways have you felt God’s love and care during this time?

I happened to start reading 1 Corinthians at the beginning of this year, and there’s so much in there about the nature of freedom and wisdom. It’s reminded me that God is so good and that my freedom is bought at price.

Often we think that we’re free and we can do whatever we want, but we really can’t. And I think it’s good to be reminded that true wisdom is about freedom in Christ.

Another timely message from 1 Corinthians is just to be content and serve God wherever you are and in whatever ways you can. For me this week, that’s meant caring for my kids.

“So many people have been caring for us in so many little ways.” – Sarah Legge

Another way we’ve experienced God’s love is through our church community. I have felt so cared for physically. We haven’t made a big announcement to say “we’re in iso”, but so many people have been caring for us in so many little ways.

Even though we’re actually completely fine and we really don’t actually need anything – thanks to the magic of online groceries and meal services – it is just lovely that people have been offering us help and care.

I think that’s God’s graciousness in caring for us in community, which is really awesome.

What would you say to other parents who are fearful about the possibility of catching COVID and having to isolate?

We are in the unbelievably privileged position of not having any underlying health concerns to worry about, so I know other people have much more reason for concern.

But for us, it’s less of a worry now that it’s actually happened. One of my kids has been quite worried about COVID. In some ways, someone in our family actually getting it has helped significantly with that worry, because “the worst thing” that you thought could happen has happened and it’s not actually that bad (although I wouldn’t say Andrew has been well – he’s been coughing his lungs out).

Of course, it’s been inconvenient and messy, but that’s life. And it’s not what I would have particularly chosen to happen, but I think sometimes it’s good to live through those circumstances. It reminds us that God is good all the time, and we can experience joy even in the midst of times that are frustrating and annoying.

Is there anything else God has been teaching you through this experience? 

The lesson for me is what the lesson always is: we just need to wait on the Lord. That’s it. Full stop. We are never really in control – it’s such an illusion. We’re just human and so, forgetful. Obviously, I need to learn that lesson time and again.

Read how God has been sustaining another family in COVID isolation – the Dieners, with two young kids – in part one of ‘Hello from the other side!’