We are all suffering in some way during this Coronavirus pandemic. But for many of us grandmas, it’s especially painful not to be able to hug our grandchildren. Some grandmas have had to make difficult decisions because of the higher health risks for our demographics.
We talked about those hardships recently during our first GaGa Sisterhood Zoom meeting. For the past 17 years, our GaGa Sisterhood meetings have always been in-person. But because of the new requirements to stay home, I decided to host a meeting on Zoom so we could “get together” and just talk about how this new reality is affecting us.
The experience was satisfying on so many levels. I plan to do it again because we need to stay connected. It was exciting to see each other; it was emotional to hear the challenges we’re facing; it was joyful to laugh together and it was comforting to share our feelings and know that everyone could relate.
I began by congratulating one of our members who was able to be with her daughter on Zoom and watch her give birth to a son. On that same day, this grandma had to put her mom in hospice care – truly the circle of life.
Another grandma told us she was wracked with guilt because her daughter wanted her to move in with her and help take care of her two toddlers. But she had to say no. We all reassured her she’d made the right decision. One GaGa comforted her by reminding her that if she got sick, her daughter would be the one feeling guilty.
Another member who normally shares a home with her children and grandchildren moved to her vacation condo rather than risk exposing herself to them. She reached out to the grandma who said no to her daughter and reminded her how important it is to take care of ourselves first – especially if we’re living alone.
Several grandmas who are regular caregivers for their grandchildren have had to step away from that role. Now they have regular FaceTime contact instead. Many celebrations will have to be postponed — birthday parties, retirement parties and anniversary parties.
Isolation is another issue we addressed because so many of us live alone. I’ve never felt this lonely in my whole life. After my husband died in September 2018, I felt lonely but I met with a grief counselor every week and attended grief support meetings. I could also be with my family and friends when I got lonely. The comfort I found being with others helped me get through the first year. But now I don’t have that luxury and it’s taking a toll on my soul. I’m grateful for technology — Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom all help make connections possible. Seeing my granddaughters’ faces fills my heart with joy but it can’t replace the pleasure of a great big hug.
How are you coping during these challenging times? What are you missing the most? Have you discovered any blessings? Share your answers in the comment box below.