“Let us pray with and for one another for the grace of faithfulness and perseverance in doing good until the end.” Saint Katharina Kasper, January 2, 1882
The end of this month marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic’s domination of almost all aspects of our lives. To focus only on what we lost misses some essential truths: resilience, adaptability, and hope. Some of us had our lives completely interrupted, experienced illness or hardship, and had plans for milestone level life-events canceled or morphed into bittersweet online affairs, creating a year many would like to forget. Forgetting is difficult, so instead we dream of the things we missed the most or will never take for granted again.
For many, that includes in-person visits. After a year of Zoom, FaceTime, and virtual visits, that’s something everyone can agree on. “Hugging my friends and family is what I miss the most and will then resume when at all possible,” Reception Services coordinator Julie Coldiron said. Melinda Phillips, also of Reception Services agrees, saying, “I can’t wait to visit my mom! No more seeing her through her front door.” Sister Carleen Wrasman, who was unable to attend her sister-in-law’s funeral in person, noted, “It’s the human contact with family that I have missed all along.”
A lot of co-workers miss travel and can’t wait for another, less stress-fraught road trip. Marketing Coordinator Jessica Barcus explained: “We used to jump in the car on Friday after work and just go wherever for the weekend. Sometimes it was just a few hours, sometimes it was Tennessee. Having to plan those things so much more now, it’s such a pain. I miss it!” Reception Services co-worker Jeannie Orr, who canceled travel plans last summer, said, “I had planned a trip to Wyoming with my granddaughters, but because of COVID-19 the trip was canceled. We are hoping to plan another trip this summer if all goes well.” Sister Connie Bach is planning a return trip to the Texas-Mexico border, also on-hold since last June, to serve the hundreds of people in need of food, clothing, and hygiene products.
For others, it’s the disruption of the daily and weekly routines that they’ll also be glad to return to. “It has been so difficult not having family gatherings, having to watching Mass on TV rather than in-person, not to be able to visit the Sisters and residents at CKH, not going to exercise classes, and a lot of other community type activities I like to do. All of these activities were stopped due to the virus. So, I am looking forward to doing the things I loved and enjoyed doing in the past and will definitely be more appreciative of the freedom to do them,” Jeannie added.
Still for many, because of having loved ones you’re apart from, getting back to a routine more closely related to normal will be life-changing, not just convenient. For Finance Director Mary Hunt, whose husband is a CKH resident, the difficulties are greater. “I never in my wildest nightmares thought putting my husband in a nursing home would mean he would be locked down for months on end without any touch from his family or leaving his room,” Mary said. With CKH co-workers and residents receiving their first rounds of the COVID vaccines last month, hopefully, the lockdown will soon be a distant nightmare.
It’s the little things that will mean the most to Tiffany Hardy of CKH when the pandemic is over. “Personally, I can’t wait to be able to serve the residents in the dining rooms. I miss this so much and just being able to see the interactions between our residents.” Little things, but special indeed, like Emily Hutsell of Ancilla College said, “I especially look forward to hugs from the Sisters.”