I am a daughter in the time of COVID-19.
I am a daughter whose mom lives in a care facility. It is a really wonderful place with caring and compassionate staff. She is doing well, and I am happy about that. Because of the threat of COVID-19, there are current restrictions that prevent mom and me from our personal visits. It is tough to deal with these changes over the past three months, but I know the restrictions are in place for a reason –to keep her and the other residents safe. I am thankful for the decisions, however hard it was to make them, which keeps them safe. And, I do miss being with her.
I reflect on what I value about spending time together with mom. When we visited before the restrictions, I noticed something inside me would bubble up when I arrived. There was a combination of “feels” that I would consciously and subconsciously look for. It was a “ground zero” of sorts.
One part of the combination was in the form of confirmation. This was in the form of noticing to see and feel the answers to how is she doing overall? Is she happy? is it a good day? Is something off? I recognized this is the caregiver role in me.
Another part of the combination was in the form of familiarity. There is comfort in being with and witnessing the predictable gestures, attitudes, and nuances that I identify her with. A history together my whole life long. I recognized as the daughter role in me.
The last part of the combination was seeing the newness of her, as an individual she is. Someone doing her best in a new environment, someone in the current stage of her life and confronting all the beliefs that life rubs up against. I recognized this as the “seeing mom as a fellow human being” role.
So, our visits over the past three months have changed to mostly phone calls. We are grateful for our weekly Skype calls which are wonderful to be able to see each other as we talk. Sometimes we color pictures in front of our screens. We are separated but together and we show one another our progress as we talk about nothing and everything. I can share my screen and so we can look at old and new photos together. Time goes quickly. Hopefully, the remaining time with the virus and the restrictions will go by quickly too so we along with other families and their loved ones, can be together- in person again soon.
We are all doing our part to keep each other safe. Thank you for that!