As Our Parents Age
Timely Topics on Aging for Adult Children & Everyone Else
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.
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.
- Thursday March 12, 2020: Friday the 13th meeting with Matthew Gallardo, Messiah Lifeways Director of Community Engagement & Coaching cancelled due to impact of Coronavirus on senior community visitation standards.
- Friday the 13th: Went to Giant, Weiss Market, COSTCO, and Karns, and finally found toilet paper. It was early and not yet chaotic. Able to purchase enough items to get by without shopping for a couple more weeks, if necessary. Headed back home. All of grandchildren’s sporting events (our main weekend activity) cancelled.
- Monday, March 16th: School cancelled. Daughter lives less than two blocks away–spent some time each day of the week helping her homeschool her four children. Felt useful. My husband, still working, asks me to get out for a walk each evening when he gets home. Nice.
- Saturday, March 21st: No weekend sporting events to attend. Kids and grandkids hunkered down. Visiting longer-distanced families via Facetime. Touching base with siblings via Facetime, too. Visit with neighbors outdoors and at-a-distance. Nice.
- Sunday, March 22nd: Finished updating Parental Information folder–to be prepared, just in case.
- Monday, March 23rd: Daughter called. “Don’t you think we need to start practicing social distancing?” Worried about us seniors getting the virus. Don’t have immune system disorders or lung disease, but would not want her to feel responsible for our deaths if we were to succumb to the virus. Feeling weepy. What kind of future will our grandchildren have? Blogging to beat it back. Would love to hear from you out there. Anyone? Anyone?
Need to put a smile on your face? Watch the video below:
For more about missing parents and family separation due to the coronavirus, visit: https://asourparentsage.net/2020/03/22/caregiving-in-the-time-of-covid-19-9-missing-my-parents/