During this pandemic, taking care of my mom and sister became a task to complete twice a week, as quickly as possible. Rather than visiting, it was in and out too quickly, all with their well-being in mind, but it was all so cold.
It had been 97 days between hugs, but yesterday we decided it had been long enough. It was time to feel like a family again, and with both of us masked, Mom and I squeezed each other tightly. It was oh so nice. Some may think it ridiculous, being so careful for so long. I say, thank God, Mom is here to hug.
Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to the LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your deeds.
Mom lives at a senior apartment building that implemented safety protocols, including limiting visitor access, very early on in the pandemic pandemonium. These protocols restricted visiting between friends in the building. Each resident had to go it alone.
When my sister Michelle’s day program shut down in early March, she went to stay with Mom because everyone at my house was still working a normal. So, Mom’s was the safest place for Michelle. It turns out that it was best for Mom, too.
I’m the only one that Mom and Mitch saw only twice a week, with my big blue Ikea bag, to drop off food, pick up laundry, and distribute meds for the next week. I kept my mask on, wore gloves (for the first few weeks), and kept my distance. I was determined to keep them out of the hospital. It was very sad and hard for any of us to get used to, but we eventually did. Anyone else visiting did it through the window screen.
Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Being alone can be very depressing, especially when you are almost deaf and have significant vision loss. Sitting in near silence and darkness, that could have been devastating, even for someone in otherwise good health. Having Michelle there kept Mom busy and focused on something aside from her circumstances. And, BONUS, it kept them both virus-free.
Closing the circle
Here’s a picture of our family on Mother’s Day. There are three of my four children and their families on my front lawn. Later we passed around a tablet, through which we visited with my oldest son and his family. It was freezing in Michigan, but we stayed outdoors anyway. We maintained our social distancing and wore our masks. It felt as odd as this picture looks, but it was the first time we were together since Christmas and we needed it.
Here’s another picture of me giving Mom a hair cut on Memorial Day. I must have been a little too bossy for the old gal, but it didn’t come out half bad.
The things we’ve learned to do without during this stay at home time surprise me every day. It seems like we don’t need all the “things” after this, and life should be less complicated going forward. That’s another BONUS!
We believe that Michelle had the virus in January when she spent almost a week in the hospital with respiratory and low blood pressure issues related to the “flu”. You can read about that in Episode Two. Through January and February, my husband, son, and I also had the flu, and so did one of my daughters. Separately, my brother was recovering from cancer surgery, and my granddaughter had Chicken Pox. Thank God, we all recovered.
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Because of all that sickness, our family was in some form of quarantine since the beginning of January. I think our circumstances drove safe practices much earlier than Covid-19 entirely presented itself. As a result, we are all healthy now and hugging again.
We need a bigger circle
Since recovering, we’ve all been healthy for the duration. Most of us are working from home or have extremely limited interaction in masks since returning to work, and limited grocery shopping. I’m thankful and trusting God to carry us through, as we continue to take care of each other.
Psalm 57:7 My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. Now wonder I can sing your praises!”
Just last week, our family decided to expand our separate household safe-circles to include our immediate family. As a result, my daughter didn’t pass up a reason to get us together. This weekend, my son-in-law turned 40, with almost most of us were present, including Michelle. Three generations together again. We all got to hug each other, eat together, laugh, and there was even some dancing going on. I’ve got to admit there were also tears of joy with every hug.
Our family isn’t rushing the process. Despite the temptation to abandon caution and just hug everyone, we’re missing; we aren’t letting our emotions get the best of us. Instead, we are mindful of how and with whom we interact. The Lord is keeping us all safe and must believe that He will use these circumstances to draw the pre-Christians in this group to Himself.
Luke 15:6b-7 ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents that over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
We have two other family events already scheduled, and we’re planning for Mom to join us by Father’s Day.
Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for you. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Today, I’m also posting over on the Inspire Me Monday link-up. Check out the amazing writers there.