Hugs I am Missing

I’m glad I still have your hugs, Grandpa, but we are sure missing the others.

As Our Parents Age
Timely Topics on Aging for Adult Children & Everyone Else

https://asourparentsage.net/

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.


An interview with the authors of “What to Do about Mama?: A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members”

An interview with the authors of "What to Do about Mama?: A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members".