Everyone is grieving something during these unprecedented times. The loss of lives, the loss of our daily routines and for some the loss of special occasions that are usually celebrated during these months.
My family and I have been mourning the loss of someone still living for the past few years. My mom has end-stage Alzheimer’s. Watching your loved one slip away is painful and I often think about how it can’t possibly get worse, but then a global pandemic came along.
COVID-19 has changed the way we live and created a new “normal.” People living with Alzheimer’s can’t comprehend why they have to wear a mask and they certainly won’t recognize others wearing a mask. In my mom’s case, it has decreased the amount of support coming into the home to care for her. Prior to the start of the quarantine, I spent Sunday afternoons with my mom: I would take her to the salon for a manicure, spend time at her home looking through family photo albums together and assist her with drinking the chocolate protein shake that provides all of her daily nutrition.
Once social distancing orders were put in place for the state of New Jersey, I decided it would be best not to visit my mom in close quarters and potentially expose her to the virus. The only way I can safely visit with my mom is by standing on the sidewalk outside her home. Looking down from her balcony makes this interaction very confusing to her.
Mother’s Day is this weekend and I am struggling with how to make it special for mom. My sister cannot fly in from Denver, Colorado to spend the day with our mom , as she usually does, and I can’t even sit beside her to go through photos of her four grandsons while listening to her favorite music…the Jersey Boys soundtrack. All I can do is stand outside, smiling behind my mask with flowers and balloons in hand to tell mom how proud she is of her eldest grandson for graduating from college this week and how much we all love her.