It is heartbreaking to listen to some of the voices on our audio diary - the Canberra Times Lockdown Hotline.
We set it up to get a sense of the lives being lived in lockdown - and it revealed real heartbreak.
"I think the hardest part about being in lockdown is not being able to see my mum," one man told The Canberra Times line.
"It's been three months since I've seen her," - and his voice cracks with the pain of absence.
"The weekend that the lockdown came was the weekend that I was planning to go back and surprise her with a visit. At this rate, I'm going to miss her birthday."
Of course, the people who called are not a representative sample of the whole population - but they do give an insight into an important part of life. It's almost as though the people who called were desperate to talk to someone.
People could call without giving their names so the recordings have an unvarnished frankness and are all the more powerful for that.
The man who misses his mother so much hasn't even been able to get to Gundagai where she lives. It's not as though she is on the other side of the world.
"I just want to give her a hug. And see her again. She's in her house alone - God, I miss her.
"It's difficult but the thing that keeps me going is that at the end of this I know that I can go back to Gundagai and give my mum a hug because, more than anything, I know that's what I want to do."
There are tears on the tape as the man says this. You hear the pain, too, in the voice of one of the women who called.
"Every morning is just like Groundhog Day - it's the same thing," she says. "I just feel like I'm going round in circles, and nothing's ever going to stop and change."
She wants to travel. Even close by feels exotic: "A trip to the South Coast feels like going to the French coast - it feels so far out of reach. Just to feel like your body in the warm sun and being refreshed by the ocean water."
The woman gasps with the thought of the pleasure.
It's the pain of separation which keeps coming through. Another woman says: "Lockdown's been really hard for us as an older couple. We haven't seen our son for over two years. Or our grandchildren - and we really miss them. They're overseas and we can't even go to see them. It's breaking our heart."
Listening to the calls you get a sense of people having mixed feelings: "It's hard. It's hard. The kids are missing their friends and school," a mother says. But then she admits that she is torn between wanting to get back to normal but also knowing that normality would mean seeing less of her children.
But there are compensations to lockdowns. People may have valued friendships and love a little more. "I made a new friend in 2020, and I have her as a friend still," one caller says. "We got through those lockdown days sharing our lives. I still hate that COVID is still with us and I am so sorry for this generation to have to put up with it but perhaps it's the time to get close to one together."
- Share your COVID story by calling the Canberra Times Lockdown Hotline on (02) 6280 2280.