TLDR: Thank you all for your support and for helping us raise £1,000 for the NHS in Sanju's name. Take care, stay safe and Happy 2021!
As many of you know, the past 2 years have been heart-breaking beyond measure for our small Mero Retro family. In the Spring of 2019, our beloved Sanju was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and, despite trying every conceivable treatment, by the Summer of 2019 she wasn't able to continue working. As her condition worsened, I too gave up most of my duties to care for her.
Fortunately we were blessed to have the loving support of friends and family, in particular the wonderful Alice Hannah Devine, Alice Revell, Bhavi and, as the year went on, our fabulous Nutti who helped steward Mero Retro into 2020, while also helping to care for Sanju. I can't thank them or the rest of our families enough.
By the time the Coronavirus came into the national consciousness, we had spent so much time in hospitals - and turning our own home into a clinic - that the habits of washing hands, wearing gloves and facemasks when necessary were already second nature. It was weirdly as though the world was joining us in our strange isolated bubble existence. All the while we somehow kept Mero Retro going - albeit with fluctuating opening hours - and you, our dear customers and friends kept coming and supporting us.
On the 20th of March this year, 3 days before the first national lockdown, Sanju passed away peacefully in her sleep, while I sat by her and held her hand. I've written a lot elsewhere about how much she meant to me and to all of us. I'll just say here that the sun fell from our sky that first day of Spring and, of course, nothing will ever be the same.
And then came the first full-on wave of the pandemic, months of stop-start lockdowns, regulations and restrictions. Happily many of you continued to support us by buying online over the summer. I spent some of my time dealing with online orders and doing local deliveries while also trying to find an appropriate way to honour Sanju's passing. I eventually came up with the design/s for our 'Rainbow Kiss' NHS Charity Fundraising T-shirt, using a lipstick imprint from an old receipt that I found among Sanju's belongings.
After the immense amount of support that we received from hospital staff and local health organisations, I felt that the least we could do would be to try to raise some money for them. The proceeds from the 2 designs (the black version isn't yet online) have so far raised just under £900 which we'll top up to £1,000 and be donating to the 5 charities tomorrow. Sadly the pressures on the health service are now just as great, if not greater than they were back in the Summer.
As we've closed and re-opened the shop over the past 9 months, it's been heart-warming to see the resilience and solidarity of our local community of customers, friends and neighbours. That said, some of our friends' businesses haven't been able to weather the endless months of restrictions. We will miss them dearly and wish them all the very best.
As for Mero Retro, we're still here for now. The ongoing Tier 4 restrictions mean that we're only able to take online orders for now but we're also offering click & collect and special appointments. From the middle of January we'll start rolling out some online offers. This latest lockdown may well hasten our journey to going online only, but that's something I'd rather avoid if at all possible. The joy of running Mero Retro has always been about being there, meeting you, sharing stories, commiserating and celebrating and spreading a little love. This is just one of the many things I learned from Sanju. Thanks for reading and thank you all for supporting our little family through these craziest of times. Please take care, stay safe and have a Happy 2021.
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