The following article on the As Our Parents Age website totally hits the nail on the head summing it up perfectly with: “But the inability to have interaction with much-loved family members? Excruciating.” However, I would like to add an additional perspective.
When my brother and I were young, our father went to the Mayo Clinic for treatment of advanced Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. His diagnosis had been kept secret from him, as was common in the late 1950s-early 60s. He was informed of his condition while there, and died a short while later. We never spoke to or saw him again. Now, many decades later, my brother is ill. Because of COVID-19, I am tormented by the fear that I will neither see nor embrace him again. (This is certainly a scenario that too many families are experiencing in our world today.) He, too, is on my list of who I am missing.
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #18: Missing Children and Grandchildren
Ask just about anyone my age to describe what is most difficult about this increasingly long period of CoVid-19 social distancing (63 days at my house), and just about everyone mentions their separation from adult children and grandchildren. And my friends with new babies in the family ache to reach out and touch them.
It’s frustrating, and it hurts. Worse still, there is no end on the horizon to this distancing, at least not for grandparents. Six months? Twelve months? Eighteen months? No one knows.
Sure we talk with our families on FaceTime, and yes, we laugh and mail trinkets, books, and birthday presents. But in reality, there is no substitute for being there with them. Friends tell me that every call makes them worry about one thing or another or consider potential ways to be helpful to family members. Yet, we cannot do anything.
And today, on a Zoom discussion about the pandemic, medical and epidemiology experts, noted that until there is a vaccine if we do see our grandchildren, we may have to refrain from hugging.
Seriously? Can grandparents really refrain from hugging? Grandparenting is defined by hugging.
Staying home hasn’t been that difficult. Spending less time doing errands is not a big challenge. Finding things to do that fill up the time — easy. Exercising is a cinch since I have all the time in the world and can take pictures of spring flowers. Postponed vacations? Not a big deal. Connecting with friends via text or Zoom or email, or on an old-fashioned phone does not substitute for face-to-face, but it works during this time of social distancing. Watching or listening to Dr. Fauci, Gov. Cuomo, and Prime Minister Trudeau — great fun, and I learn so much. I am fortunate and privileged.
But the inability to have interaction with much-loved family members? Excruciating.
Event One: What To Do About Mama? FREE Kindle this Mother’s Day weekend
In celebration of Mother’s Day, What to Do about Mama? Expectations and Realities of Caregiving (Kindle Edition) is being offered FREE Friday May 9th through Sunday May 11th, 2020
She took good care of you– Show her how much you love and care for her, too.
Event Two: SunburyPressBooksShow–COVID-19 and the Family
Saturday, May 9, 2020 @ 9:00 AM on the BookSpeak Network Panel Discussion with Lawrence Knorr, Publisher, moderating.
Sunbury Press Books Show–COVID-19 and the Family BlogTalkRadio.com
Twenty-five Sunbury Press authors contributed twenty-seven chapters about the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on society. Based on their experiences in a variety of fields, they provide their projections about the changes facing us, many of which have already been underway for some time.
Barbara Matthews – COVID-19: Through the Eyes of a Grandmother
Bridget Smith, Bridget – Dreams Deferred
Iris Dorbian – The Great Equalizer
H.A.Callum – Fighting Solo: Covid-19 and the Single Parent
Because of the Coronavirus, Denise had a discussion with her parents in March to assess their wishes for treatment. They decided that being cared for at home was the safest course of action. However, in April, Dad vacillated and said, “I don’t want to be put on a ventilator.” Denise had not considered that Dad, who always wanted to stay at home with Mom and not go to the hospital, would feel differently about Coronavirus because of the contagion factor and his concern about giving it to Mom. Denise concluded that it’s best to talk and to be prepared. Nothing is certain, except that things will change. Care plans will need to be tweaked and altered, but that’s okay. What is not okay is the paralysis of indecision and procrastination.
When I look at the obituary page, I always think “how nice” when I read that someone died surrounded by family. But that does not always happen, especially in these times of coronavirus when families are often separated from their dying loved ones. Thanks to Barbara Karnes for sharing information about what happens at the time of death and for making the thought of dying alone less frightening.
Described below is from a hospice nurse sharing her experience with her own mother’s death.
I sat vigil for most of the twenty-four hours. My husband, daughter, and son were with me for most of the time. I sent them home around eight p.m. All the clinical signs of impending death were there, but she didn’t want to let go. She was unresponsive, but at one point, when my family was with me, I attempted to do mouth care with a sponge/stick. From under the sheet, up came her fist, which she shook at me. We looked at one another and laughed. She was still mad at me. That was so Mom. Around five a.m., I had this strong feeling that she did not want me there. It was so clear. I packed up, alerted the nurses, and drove home. I had just fallen asleep when the nursing home called me to say that she passed. I did not feel any guilt. I knew that was what she wanted.
When my daughter decided that we needed to social distance, a morose thought immediately went through my head. “If I get Coronavirus and die, I will never be in the same room, or get to hug my children or grandchildren again.” Do you think I’m being overly dramatic? Read the article below.