I was at the main door of mom’s Nursing Home to drop off some pink roses and candy for her. There were two sisters there also, with their husbands. The staff had called and asked them to come right over as the sister’s 93-year-old father appeared to be close to death. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, so the policy is two people go in at a time. While the sisters hurried in, I made conversation with their husbands. That’s how I found out about the father.
It was only a few minutes later that both sisters came hurrying back out, sobbing uncontrollably. The only time I’ve heard lamentation in my sheltered life was on TV, so I didn’t get what I was listening to at first. I just knew they sounded viscerally sad. One sister cried out, “We didn’t get to see him. Our father’s already dead!” As they leaned into their husband’s embraces, their eyes were still dry with shock.
So their husbands could comfort them, I gave my apologies and got out of there. As I drove home, I thought about what I’d just witnessed. It was at that point that I realized the two women had been lamenting. Tears weren’t good enough. Not being able to say goodbye to their father had shredded their hearts, and they were wailing in an absolute agony of grief.
It’s September now, and I haven’t been able to see our mom since April. One of my greatest fears is that she will pass before I ever get a chance to give her another hug. There have been half a dozen cases of Covid-19 at the nursing home, but so far, they’ve managed to keep the virus under control. My mom is eighty-six years old and bedridden, so even if she doesn’t get the virus, she probably doesn’t have much longer. All four kids talk to her once a week on a Zoom video chat, and they’ve let us start dropping off presents again. It’s the best we can do amid this global catastrophe. One day, maybe soon, I’ll get that same call from the nursing home. I can only pray that I will get there in time to tell my mother goodbye.
PS> I am not posting this, so conspiracy theorists can mouth off. There are very few facts about Corona, and most of what we think we’ve figured out is proving suspect. That doesn’t seem to stop everyone from having an opinion. Please don’t assume another person’s pain gives you the right to express yours.