Thanksgiving is only one of the family get-togethers upended by the coronavirus. Summer vacations, family reunions, birthday celebrations, Father's Day, Mother's Day, even funerals--lots of us have been unable to celebrate or observe any of these in person with our children (and their families) since the coronavirus barged into our lives.
How are we coping with these losses? Some of us are more philosophical than others. Many of us are taking it one holiday at a time or thinking up innovative ways to use technology to shrink the distance.
Here's how one couple is dealing with the loss of an annual Father's Day reunion with their four grown children. The full interview ran in the New York Times. Here are pertinent highlights.
Every Father’s Day weekend, the four adult children travel from New York and Chicago to Las Vegas to visit their father, Mort, 82, and stepmother, Marla, 65, bringing with them grandchildren ranging in age from 7 to 20 years old. The annual ritual was postponed this year until August. And then, as the virus continued to rage, it was canceled.
How the parents are coping:
Mort I happen to like my family. But I’m not insane enough to risk death. The coronavirus is unfortunately dictating our schedule. You recognize what is possible and what is not possible.
Marla We tell them, ‘Well, maybe you’ll drive out here.’ But the truth is, as much as we’d love to see them, they have too much contact with too many people.
Mort I’m not going to rend my garments and cover up the mirrors because I can’t see my children. I’m lucky to be in sufficiently good health. ...
Marla I worry that the young ones are too young to have formed memories of him. And the ones in college — who knows how much longer they’ll want to come along on these visits?
Mort My grandchildren are in very good hands.
Marla We’re lucky, we have each other. But it feels like we’ve given up a tremendous amount during this time.
Marla He might come off as ‘it is what it is,’ but would he love to see them? Nothing would make him happier. [One of his children] said, ‘When am I going to see you?’ I said, ‘When there’s a vaccine.’
Marla And when will that be? I don’t know. I don’t know, and there are days I handle it much better than others.
painting: Van Gogh