21st Century, Culture, Current Events, death, Faith, Minnesota, Uncategorized

WHO told the old woman, “Go cry alone in your room!?”


Our Passover table with an empty spot for the Messiah and for Grandma?!

Mom’s middle name is Leona because she’s lived like a lioness: growing up in the mountains of Bolivia, losing her dad to malaria in Tanzania, nursing for a half century, (16 years of them night shifts), and raising four wildcatting kids with a Polack prince. Being a “typical Swede” this awesome 83 year old woman has virtually no health issues except an addiction to “church coffee”.
Mary is an “I love everybody, and you’re next” kinda gal!

About a year ago, we moved her from Minneapolis to a Senior Living apartment near us in St. Paul, Minnesota. Though her facility held much promise due to its proximity and lower rent; Ccp virus health directives have dashed our hopes to be her direct caregivers.  We simply have no access!

For background, her building has been closed to outsiders since the March 13 peacetime emergency declaration.* Tough as that may be, at least we could share a dog walk with her in the neighborhood through last weekend on Passover/Easter. But yesterday, even that was cut off! They don’t want residents to exit the facility, or even allow visits through a window or door.

Adding to the pain, on the same day as the facilities’ rules change, mom’s dear friend Bonnie died! I want to be there for my mom in her grieving. I want to honor the law, and respect the needs of her apartment complex, but it goes against every natural instinct in me to stay away. 

What can I do? Yes, we could do face time or zoom. (If she knew how to use a smartphone.) In my world, it’s only natural to put an arm around someone crying: hug them, rub their back; or just be there and cry WITH them! 

Covid 19 prevention protocols feel more and more like a Pyrrhic victory: to stop the fear and panic of a contagion of some, we choose to tell our elders, “Go cry alone in your room!”


* https://www.twincities.com/2020/03/25/minnesota-stay-at-home-order-on-coronavirus-what-it-says/


17 thoughts on “WHO told the old woman, “Go cry alone in your room!?”

  1. I do sympathize, but nursing homes are perfect places for disease to spread. In a choice between isolation or contagion sweeping through the home, which would you choose?

    I live in the UK, and the lack of protective equipment is putting residents at terrible risk and death rates are high in any home where contagion enters. I don’t have any simple answers and I distrust anyone who offers them to this very difficult situation.

    • My family has been barred entrance since the beginning of our state of emergency on March 13th. That’s a given that we outsiders cannot possibly infect her building.
      Yet, I find it Orwellian that she does not retain the choice to come outdoors to meet us, visit through a glass door or window, or leave to shop or drive.
      Truly, she’s effectively on house arrest minus the GPS ankle bracelet.
      Minnesota has lost it’s sense of proportion in this event, I’m afraid. We have 152 deaths with a population of 5.6 million. That is far below an ordinary flu season. Currently, there are only 7 people statewide in the hospital.
      We are in danger of losing our humanity over a nominally lethal pandemic. As Minnesotans, we have forfeit most of our rights to bureaucrats at the MN Dept of Health.
      That’s the rest of the story, and I thank you for your reply!

      • My friend, this is not nominally lethal but genuinely lethal. A friend’s funeral is today. Only his closest family can go. The rest of the village will line the road, at a safe distance from each other, to see him off. It’s all we can do. If Minnesota’s managed to keep the death rate low, I expect it’s due to the measures that seem extreme. If someone goes out to shop, they risk bringing the disease back in with them. Not everyone is cautious. Not everyone is wise. Not everyone is lucky, for that matter. And all it take is one spark for the fire to tear through a population.

        I’m not saying that every decision this particular home has made is wise. Visiting through a window does seem safe. I too would want to meet outdoors, but I can also understand the mind that forbid it. Because if people touch, they touch not just each other but everyone that they’ve touched. People can carry the virus and spread it without being symptomatic, or before they become symptomatic, so they have no idea they’re infected. That’s one of the things that makes this such a difficult disease. I feel like I’m treating friends like sources of contagion, and I hate doing that, but I could also a source of contagion for them. One moment when I wasn’t cautious enough and I could be spreading the virus to them. If I love them, I need to keep my distance from them.

  2. The more I look into the virus itself, the more it seems to me that doctors and scientists really don’t know what the Hell it is.

    There are now at least 30 different strains of the virus but that isn’t highly publicized due to fears of creating a mass panic I suppose.

    So if science doesn’t really know what it is, are all these totalitarian measures that are being implemented such as telling elderly people to go to their room and stay there ultimately going to work in the end?

    • I think the draconian measure only will serve to “paint the dragon red”. Maybe sleepy America will learn the difference between the risks of liberty and the entrapment of gov’t sanctioned security?

  3. The new reality is indeed quite harsh, but the Corona virus is amoral. It does not discriminate between good, bad, people together nor people alone. God works in mysterious ways.

    • Respectfully, the new reality is self-imposed, and unprecedented in most of the world’s history. When have we quarantined the healthy of the world in such ubiquitous numbers?
      It is alarming to me that our elders’ rights are stomped on so completely, “for their own good”. In my case, I absolutely don’t mind that her apartment is shut down to visitors. That is their right to manage their property as they see fit. However, it is not in their purview, nor Constitutional according to our highest law, to crush 6 or 7 essential freedoms listed in the Bill of Rights. Is my mother no longer a citizen? Where is her choice over her own body? Where is her choice to risk a flu versus missing the wake and funeral of a childhood friend?
      Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. An incarcerated elder, I supported “bend the curve” distancing while we reinforced our armaments in front of the Covid-19 onslaught. It was huge unknown risk. Hindsight shows the short-term measure to have been prudent, migration wise, but the bank account was spent. Human spirit, reliant on community; was strained in unhealthy directions. Life is hazard. As one risk is removed, another surfaces. Do we think there will be no comeuppance after billions worldwide, constantly disinfect every surface? Are we to do that until a vaccine is ubiquitous? Same with breaking the human spirit. We must cautiously repair, not forward the current goal post. We fight four toxins: disinfectants, Covid-19, isolation and risk-aversion. Perhaps we shall need two wards: those who value their life at any cost and those who choose to take informed risk and enjoy the most fundamental of life’s blessings. We cannot outwit the reaper.

    • Thanks for your thought-provoking response. I find that nations, states, and cities with “emergency powers” have the most unneccessary human suffering. Why? A single authority has too narrow of vantage point to adequately steer society, and this is the reasoning behind the distribution of power to parliaments, Congress, state and county, and individual responsibilities and rights.

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