Darlene Foster's Blog

Missing Mom During The Pandemic

Posted on: July 5, 2020

Like everyone else, many of my plans for this year have been ruined due to the global pandemic. A long-anticipated trip to Venice, a trip to the UK to see longtime friends and to celebrate a good friend’s 70th birthday, a meeting with a Canadian friend in Valencia, visits from Canadian friends during their around the world tour, and a trip to Canada to attend my youngest grandson’s high school graduation and a huge family reunion – all cancelled. But the biggest disappointment of all, is missing the opportunity to see my 91-year-old mom.

Mom is well looked after in a care home in Medicine Hat, Alberta. I keep in touch with the staff on a regular basis, and they have informed me that she is doing well, is happy and healthy. They are doing a great job of keeping the residents safe, and no cases of COVID 19 have been detected in the care home, which is a relief and I am so thankful.

But she is not allowed any visitors, for obvious reasons. As a result, I’ve not been able to Skype or FaceTime with her from Spain for the past four months, as it is the visitors who facilitate these video calls. I keep feeling she will think she’s been abandoned because no one comes to see her. I send her emails, as do my brothers, that the staff read out to her, but I really wish I could see her, at least on a screen if not in person.

The care home recently started allowing the residents to have visits by appointment. These visits are held outside with the regulated two-metre distancing and both parties wearing masks. My darling granddaughter made an appointment last week and visited Mom. It was hard not to be able to hug her great-grandmother or hold her hand. Mom has difficulty hearing and her own voice is very soft so the distance made conversation almost impossible. Initially, mom didn’t recognize her, but when she pulled down the mask for a quick smile, mom nodded and smiled in recognition. Of course, there were tears. As there were for me when I saw the pictures and video.

Mom wearing her face mask.
A quick photo of her without the mask.
Mom with a visit from her great-granddaughter.

There wasn’t much conversation but there was a lot of love. I was so happy to see these images and to see that Mom is all right and smiling.

This is what my dear granddaughter had to say about her visit:

“I booked a visit with my lovely Great Grandma. I have always had a close emotional bond with Grandma Frisch. She often took care of me when I was young, most weekends and more, and I returned the care to her when she needed it. I love her so much. Grandma’s existence throughout her whole life thrived on family. Thrived on making sure her family was ok by visiting, keeping in touch, and keeping close bonds. She is now in her 90s so she cannot hear very well and speaks very softly. Visits with Grandma are always in close contact so we can hear each other and feel the close presence.

Visiting Grandma like this, in today’s world, I had no idea I would break down. She didn’t recognize who I was at first with a mask on so I broke the rule and pulled it down for a smile. She lit up and smiled back and said I love you. We sat for our 30 minutes of no touch, no conversation, just eye contact. And uncontrollable tears from me. It is saddening, heartbreaking, and just too frustrating to even bare the strength of holding it back. I tried to hide my tears as best as I could… and I’m usually pretty strong.. but I could see that she knew. She tried to unlock her wheelchair brakes to come to console me. But of course, she couldn’t. So I smiled instead and said over and over I Love You.

I did ask, as she was about to be taken back, that we take off our masks for a real smile. The nurse thankfully said that was ok.

Our poor elders. What is this for … what is worse… and at what cost? Humans need humans. Humans need touch, humans need love…. we survive on it. Love through our eyes at a distance will have to do for now. Grandma is well, Grandma looks amazing, and I told her everyone loves her and thinks about her every day. ❤️

Suddenly small things don’t matter anymore like eyebrow waxing or hair cuts, when there are innocent people literally dying alone. And not just from COVID19.”

I feel incredibly proud of this young woman and touched by her words. And so very grateful that she shared this with me.

Who have you been missing during these days of lockdown? Have you been able to see your loved ones?

Stay safe my friends.

106 Responses to "Missing Mom During The Pandemic"

At my mother’s care home in Australia, visits were limited but never stopped. She is on the ball and very with it and I was able to phone her just before she got very frail and we had a long chat and laugh talking about my family dramas. Then my doctor sister thought Mum was very near the end and we managed a Facetime; all the Australian family had also been to see her. But then she perked up and felt hungry! Visitors are still going and helping her with meals. It must be awful for those with elderly relatives literally locked in.

It is difficult but important to keep them safe. How nice that your mom perked up. It’s so hard when we are so far away.

Thanks Darlene. They are a tough generation.

Your grand daughter’s description of her visit was most touching. My you and your family be Blessed….

Hi Darlene, I thank you for so perfectly capturing the pain of separation and sharing it here. Your granddaughter is a sweetie! My Mom’s 90 now and doing fine, too, thank goodness, but swings into loneliness until we can snap her out of it. Luckily we can skype and zoom.

I’m glad to hear your mom is doing so well. Yes, my granddaughter is a sweetie. So lucky to have her in our lives. Hugs to you and your mom. xo

What a moving read, Darlene. Your granddaughter writes so eloquently. This has been a such a hard time. I miss my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter (6 months old) who live 50 miles away – but who we hope to see for the first time in 4 months next weekend. And the planned month long visit to us here in Scotland by our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren (aged 8 and 6) from Australia should have been happening now, but of course had to be cancelled. But much as I miss them – and my wider family and friends – I do remind myself to be grateful they are all are safe and well.

Thanks, Anne. It must be hard, especially as babies change so much in four months. I too, remind myself that everyone is safe and well, and I am so grateful for that.

That by far is one of the hardest part of COVID, the elders in rest homes. I am so happy to see this went well.

I was so worried about her, but I’m impressed with the measures taken at the home, as harsh as they seem.

A beautiful post Darlene it sounds like your mum is well cared for and how lovely your grandaughter was able to visit… She has written a lovely account of her visit Hugs xx

Thanks, Carol. She did write a wonderful account. It brought my big, tough brother to tears. He is in Thailand, I’m in Spain, our younger brother is in Canada but still can’t visit her. Tough times but thankfully the young people are up to the task of keeping us informed. xo

Your family sounds like mine scattered around the globe… UK, Australia, USA and Thailand for us… It is certainly tough times. Be well and stay safe, Darlene xx

Darlene, this is heartbreaking and heart warming. Your granddaughter is so sweet and so is your mom. At least you know she has someone nearby even if you can’t see per in person. There should be a possibility for her to be able to Skype with you. Couldn’t someone set it up for her?

Thanks, Christa, I agree they are both very sweet. I have asked the staff to set up a Skype call, and they said they would try, but they are incredibly busy so it hasn’t happened yet. It is hard for visitors to do it because of the distancing required.

I was reaching for the tissues reading this, Darlene, completely choked up.

And me while I wrote it up. Especially when I watch the video. 😢

Really moving, Darlene. So pleased your Mom is well. x

So beautiful and sad at the same time. Sending you uplifting thoughts.

Yes, it made me smile and cry when I saw the pictures and the message. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Maggie.

This is a very touching post, Darlene. You have a very beautiful mother and granddaughter. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Thank you. The pandemic has affected every one in one way or another.

Darlene, a heartbreaking and moving missive from your granddaughter … what an emotional time for all. It must be so hard for you; I can’t imagine. I’m lucky now that my mother is part of our ‘bubble/pod’ and it’s wonderful to interact as normal, visit her at her house and vice versa. We have a big family in Sweden and it’s difficult not to have seen them for so long and no idea when we will be able to travel there. Take care, my friend and hope you have a chance to visit sometime soon. Hugs xx

How nice that you can visit your mother now but it may be a while until you can visit the family in Sweden. Hopefully, we can all travel again soon. Thanks for your comment.xo

Ah, what a moving post and a great tribute to your mother, Darlene. My mum unfortunately is no longer with us, but she would have been very distressed at being confined for 4 months with no visitors, so all I can hope for is that perhaps she’s in a better place.

I am sure she is in a better place where there are no worries about pandemics, wars etc. Because of my mom´s dementia, she doesn´t realize what is going on, which in many ways is a good thing as she would only worry about all of us. xo

Poignant. “Humans need humans, humans need touch” I’m missing the hugs. I can see my friends, my colleagues, but I’m missing the hugs when we meet. I missed my spring visit to Ohio to my sons and grandkids. And it appears they’ll miss our summer visit up here. But we FaceTime more than usual. Maybe we even talk more than usual. And that’s where I must put my focus: on the positive. On what it takes for us all to stay healthy and alive.

A lovely post, Darlene. Thank you.

That is exactly where we need to focus. Many people are connecting more than ever so there is always a positive to every situation. Thanks for your kind comments.

This covid-19 has certainly hammered everyone, Darlene. It came out of the blue. I first heard about it on 5 February just before the Chinese New Year and here we are five months later having endured a complete change in our lifestyles. Given the state of the economy here is South Africa, I don’t think we are going to get back to how things were for a long time to come. I am sorry you can’t see your mother, that is the worst part of this pandemic.

It did really catch us off guard. The Spanish economy will take a while to get back as it is so dependant on the tourism industry, especially all along the coast. I can´t see getting on an airplane for some time. This is where the distance from my family is tough. But I´m thankful everyone is safe and well. Take care and stay safe my dear. xo

Your granddaughter’s description of her visit with your mother brought tears to my eyes.

And to mine. I´m so glad she took the time to see my mom and report back to me. I am blessed to have her in my life. xo

If only all young people were as kind and sensitive…actually, if only everyone was as aware and caring. You are lucky, Darlene. All best wishes.

I agree. She is a gem. Thanks, Catherine.

Oh, Darlene, I teared up reading this. You must be in such pain not being able to have face to face contact with her. I’m so glad your granddaughter was able to help bridge that gap.

I have been reading about nursing homes here in the U.S. that have started pen pal programs for their residents during this time of lockdown. I have been thinking strongly about participating (I used to volunteer with hospice and have a real heart for seniors). I’m sincere when I say that I would absolutely love to be pen pals with your mom! I wouldn’t expect her to respond back. It would just bring me so much joy to be able to send her cards and letters to brighten her day. If you think that is something she would enjoy, let me know. 🙂

What a fabulous idea. I know Beth Anne Chiles at It’s Just life is doing something like this for her mom. You might want to check it out The home she is in has made it easy and I sent a message to her mom. https://itsjustlife.me/the-dementia-journey-continues-2/
I’ll send you my mom’s address. She loves getting mail. Just say you are my friend. Thank you so much!

Such a difficult time, especially for the elderly. You have a wonderful granddaughter, and I’m missing my grandchildren, just as you must be.

It is difficult, but knowing our loved ones are safe and well cared for is comforting. I am missing all 4 of my grandchildren and my two great-granddaughters. I usually get back for a visit at least once a year. Not to be this year. Sigh… I hope you can see yours soon. xo

You know how much I loved reading this and how the tears came. We are all missing so much but the contact with loved ones is the thing that is the most difficult to not have. Your mom looks wonderful – what a gift your granddaughter gave to both your mom and everyone else who sees the pictures and video. Thank you.

I knew you would love this post as I did yours about your dear mom. I cry every time I watch that video. My granddaughter is truly a gift herself and what a great gift she gave to all of us. xo

How difficult this must be for you and your family, Darlene. Hopefully, things will continue to improve and your family can spend more time with her. It must be a huge relief that she’s in a home where she’s getting good care. Still, let’s hope a vaccine comes as soon as possible.

Thanks, Debra. It has been tough but as my dad would say, “It could be worse.” We are comforted that mom is well looked after. A vaccine would be so welcome. Take care. xo

A lovely post, Darlene. It’s good to know that your mum is well looked after, and your granddaughter sounds amazing!

Thanks, Clive. She is amazing for sure!! So blessed to have her.

Darlene, beautifully stated. While our hearts go out to all those impacted by the virus, your Mom is one of millions who has been forced into isolation…for the right reason of course, but no less difficult…I saw my Mom in early March – the week before the pandemic kicked in hard and everything shut down – and she hasn’t been outside since

Thanks, John. We do need to keep our elders safe, but oh it is so hard. I’m pleased to hear your mom is OK. Can you connect with her via social media or telephone? Does she live far from you? Virtual hugs just aren’t the same, are they?

We talk every day, my sister does drop offs with treats, and we have done a few Zoom calls as well, so we have been able to see each other!

That is so good, John. I can’t phone my mom because she can’t hear well enough. So until my granddaughter visited her and sent me the pictures, I hadn’t seen her for 4 months! We are hoping to organize a Skype call soon.

Such a lovely post, Darlene, I’m so pleased for you, your mother, your granddaughter, and all of your family. Thank you for sharing the words, the pictures and the video of this lovely visit.
Stay safe, and we’ll all keep hoping for that vaccine we keep hearing about.

Thanks, Cath. Stay safe as well. xo

The most difficult thing for me during the Covid lock down was cancelling my trip to be with my daughter for her childbirth. My younger granddaughter is 15 months now and I haven’t held her in my arms yet. She started having big smiles, lifting her head up on her tummy. I miss her so much.

I know it’s very hard for you not being able to see your 90 years old mom, Darlene. It was wonderful that your granddaughter visited your mom, made an video, and wrote to you about her visit.

Thank you for sharing this post, Darlene!

We are all missing special events in our lives. I hope you have been able to see the baby via video messaging. This will be over one day and we can visit our loved ones again. What a wonderful reunion that will be! Sending hugs your way.

Yes, my daughter and I have been doing video chats. It’s wonderful to see my two granddaughters and look forward to see them in person soon. Hugs to you, Darlene!

Im so sorry that your unable to visit your Mum, and tears when I saw the photos of your mum that your granddaughter took. Its so very hard during this time. My nephew drowned while snorkeling up north in West Aussie…he was only 30. I couldn’t even fly to his funeral. WA has closed their borders and now with larger outbreaks in Victoria we are unable to travel in Australia at all. My bestie who lives in WA is unable to visit her mum in the nursing home as my b is unable to have the flu shot so no visits as the requirement is to have the flu shot. Its so sad… Thank you for sharing this post xx

I am so sorry to hear about your nephew. So sad and even sadder because you couldn’t be there. There are so many stories like this from all over the world. Stay safe.

Thank you Darlene…once I can Im flying over to Perth or I may stop there on my way home next year after our holiday. If we do get to go.

I hope you get to visit your mum soon xx

Let’s hope we can go on a holiday next year. xo

Darlene, You have a wonderful mom and granddaughter. I’m glad your mom is well and your granddaughter could visit her. Thank you for sharing this touching post with us. #senisal

Thanks, Natalie. I do have a wonderful mom and granddaughter and as you can tell, they are very close. Take care and stay safe. xo

My heart is breaking for you and your family. I hope that you will be able to hug your mom one day very soon.

Thanks so much. I do too.

How wonderful that your granddaughter was able to visit. Yes, a little love can make up for quite a lot. It is really sad that our elders are so alone right now. I dearly hope that this virus will end soon.

A little love goes a long way. So true! I could feel that love all the way across Canada and the Atlantic ocean. I hope it ends soon too. xo

I’m so sorry you’ve missed out on so many family celebrations, and especially not being able to communicate with your mother, Darlene. Covid sucks, pure and simple. My in-laws are in an assisted living facility that’s still on lockdown, but they’ve only have one case so far, so the stringent rules have been worth it. We can’t see them, but at least my hubby can speak to them on the phone. Hoping you can see your mom in person and hug her very soon!

Thanks, Teri. The strict rules are so worth it, even though hard to take. Keeping our elders safe has to be a top priority. I´m pleased to hear your in-laws are OK. xo

Okay, that was absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. It brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad your great granddaughter shared this with family. And for your sharing it with all of us!

It certainly brought tears to my eyes but also a smile. It was so nice of her to share the pictures and video. Thanks, Patricia. xo

Goodness. I’m so sorry, Darlene. It’s a shame they can’t set up your mother’s phone on wifi to accept a facetime call from you. I empathize with you and I wrote about this very situation a while back at the blog. Your niece is a very special young woman and a writer like her aunt. Let’s hope this improves for our elderly. I know Dr. Henry has okay’d visits in long term care homes but they will be extremely strict. One person at a time and other things. Argh. It’s getting harder not easier.

Thanks, Lisa. This is in Alberta and the care homes are being very strict, but I´m glad. There has only been one death in all of Medicine Hat so far! I agree, my granddaughter is very special. I should be able to talk to mom soon. We are working on it. Mom seems happy and that is what is important. Sending hugs. xo

That’s great news, Darlene. Hugs.

Sorry, your granddaughter (not niece :P) is a very special young woman.

I know itt is hard to be missing so many enjoyable events that you were going to do in the coming months but it has to be especially hard not to be able to visit with your mother. Your granddaughter’s note was touching.

Thanks, Karen. I did find myself in a flood of tears when I read her note.

I was so happy to read your post. To see photos of your darling mom. To read your granddaugher’s message. This is what is important! My mom, unfortunately, didn’t make it through this Covid crisis. She didn’t understand the masks and not seeing the faces of the staff at her facility either. I think her last couple of months were the hardest of her life. I also think your granddaughter’s visit made a HUGE difference for your mom. LOVE is what it’s all about. xo

I know about your dear mom and I am so sorry. A sad end to a wonderful life. I agree, love is what it is all about. Mom gave so much love all her life, it is fitting she is getting it back at this time. I am glad this post made you happy. xo

❤ ❤ By the way, hope you don't mind me 'borrowing' your name for my Laundry Room posts. I think it's fun to use names of people we authors know. 🙂

I was delighted to see my name being used. Darlene is not that common so I don´t often see it in a story. Thanks!!

Darlene, this is so touching. And I know you must be so frustrated to not be able to see your mother, but thank goodness for all the wonderful communication. I know from personal experience how heartbreaking it is to live in another country from your aging parents. I’m so glad your Mom is surrounded by love. ~Terri

Thanks, Terri. Once mom is allowed more visitors and we can start the video meetings again, that will be so much better. But she is surrounded by love, and I am thankful for that. It is hard to be so far away, but she did send me off with her blessings. Take care. xo

Even though my mother has gone.. I know that this would have been very hard on her as she was very social. Thank goodness your granddaughter was able to visit on your behalf and it was clear that half hour was precious to them both…♥

Thanks, Sally. It would have been very hard on your mother, as it has been on many of our elders. In many cases, they aren’t aware of what is going on, just wonder why no one is coming to visit. They are keeping the residents very busy at mom’s care home so they don’t dwell on it. The visit was very precious.xo

Oh Darlene my heart breaks for your granddaughter. Her words so clearly expressed the frustration and longing by so many. In the past month or more we have been able to book outdoor courtyard visits with Dave’s Mom who is 90 but in very good health. She also is on Facebook and able to manage video calls with family members on her own. Something she learned since the pandemic.
I have not seen my mom in Saskatchewan since January. Both Saskatchewan and Alberta are still suggesting avoiding inter-provincial travel. We speak by phone every day and she too has mastered video chats so that is a big help.
Sending big hugs your way and thinking of your Mom. It must be very difficult to be so far away during this challenging time. xo

I’m so pleased to hear that both of your moms are doing well. Isn’t it wonderful that they have been able to learn to use technology to stay connected? It has been difficult being so far away. I was supposed to be there at this time. I don’t believe I will be back this year. We will get through this. Thanks for the update. xo

Lovely post about your mom. So glad your granddaughter got to share her visit with you. I’ve been caring for my parents throughout this, not always easy, but I’m grateful to see them often.

Thanks, Marcia. I´m pleased to hear your parents are OK and I´m sure they appreciate your help during this strange time. Stay safe. xo

[…] Its tough missing your parents, for some its more than a roadtrip via Missing Mom During The Pandemic […]

Its so sad Darlene that you cant see your dear mom! I hope you will be able to see her soon! Sending a big hug of support to you! xoxo

Thanks, Carol Anne. xo

She’s lucky in her family. As are you. I’ve seen in the paper that some care homes are putting up plastic curtains so people can hug through them. It’s not ideal, but it is touch.

Thanks, Ellen. We are very lucky. I actually got to speak to mom myself last night via messenger. It was o great to see her and she was all smiles.

Your story was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. What I miss a lot are hugs. Seeing my friends walking towards them with your arms opened wide giving each other a big warm hug. I’m blessed to have my husband who will hug me anytime I ask for one or initiate one of his own.

I so agree. I am a very huggy person and this is hard. Yesterday friends stopped by with a belated birthday cake and we couldn´t hug. Elbow touches just don´t do it. I also have a teddy bear hubby who gives out hugs freely. And a cute dog I cuddle. Thanks for stopping by.

Your quite welcome Darlene.

Darlene, such a loving post. It has to be so hard not to have visitors during the pandemic. Hopefully this too shall pass. Enjoy the weekend. oxox

It has been hard but manageable. The fact that mom is being kept safe is a blessing. Thanks!

Darlene, blessings for you and your mom. Being well and safe are so very important. I’ll remember you both in my thoughts and prayers. oxox

Look at the conversation you started here, Darlene! How beautiful! My uncle’s mother turned 100 in April and her plan was a Danube River Cruise (like Amanda!). My uncle asked her doctor in January if such a trip from Oregon would be possible, and the doctor said, “She’s probably healthier to go that you or me!” 🙂 They had to cancel and she has had to be isolated through the spring. It breaks my heart, but I am hoping we can do it another time. I did research on places to take them here in Budapest.

I’ve been doing a little do-gooding, sending flowers and treats to a nursing home where I used to volunteer. It breaks my heart to think of our amazing elderly people living these long lives only to spend such a time locked down. However, I think it can also bring out our giving spirit and perhaps as things slow down we will be more inspired to give, to appreciate, and to see the good. ❤

Hugs,
Paige

Thank you my dear friend. I so agree as I have seen some incredible acts of kindness during this time. I eventually got to talk to my mom via social media myself and she was smiling and very happy. This probably has not affected her as much as the rest of us. Which is good. I do hope your uncle’s mother can make the trip in the next year. Take care. Many hugs, Darlene

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