Every relationship is affected by COVID-19 and we need to find alternative ways to connect and stay connected. We are living in a time of missed family gatherings, as we knew them. I have two younger great-nieces that I now visit on occasion in the front lawn through my sister’s bay window. Removing my mask for a slight moment not to frighten the babies; placing my hands upon the glass and watching them as they mimic me with their small handprints. I have experienced weddings, funerals, graduations, weekly family meetings, bible study, church services, school, and training for work, all without being together in person.
My new great-nephew arrived back in January 2020, and I still have not been able to hold or bond with him due to the worry of COVID-19. Just leaving all the gifts, I bought for him on the front porch. I worry he won’t know who his great-aunt is when we do meet in person. There is no contact with great-grandparents in fear of passing on sickness due to their age. There is only contact with mothers, fathers, siblings, and some younger grandparents who are healthy and within the same household.
I’ve lost near and dear family members and friends during this time of lockdown. No matter what the cause of death, COVID-19 has been attached to it. No in-person funeral services or repast to bring family and friends together to celebrate a life and mourn properly.
I miss my church family now that services are being held via Facebook Live to praise God as a congregation.
Personal relationships that we thought were so loving and serious now have made arrangements to part ways because of much too much togetherness, and too much irritation.
Those to be married in 2020 will find a way to make that commitment come together with love everlasting in their hearts as they look forward to a life of close togetherness, this being that major test to see if they have what it takes to make it.
Senior parents are going against their adult children to gain back their freedom to come and go as they please from days of the past. We’re just trying to keep them safe the best way we know how.
I ask the question, how are relationships while in quarantine working when there was no loving family or friendship bond to start? Marriages that were already broken to the point of “no return,” but staying just because it was better to keep the bad rather than go through all of this alone. Those mother/ daughter, father/son relationships that did not get along in happy times, how are they holding up in these stressful times?
Every relationship in life has been affected during this COVID-19 pandemic. We have had to take the bitter along with the sweet just to get by. When we do get through all of this and start truly living our new normal, who will fight and pray for their relationships to withstand the test of time? Who will look for outside professional help to work it all out through much needed conversations, or who will just walk away when it’s safe to do so and start anew with the mindset that the grass is always greener on the other side?
When my great nieces and great nephew grow up, I pray that their small hands that once mimicked me in their childhood will “grow up” to become great adults that will experience great personal relationships in life; no longer social distancing, with more than online connections. If they can learn from my relationship mistakes in life, my role as their great-aunt was a success. I want my words and actions to lineup for their relationship examples.
The question is, will we be better in our relationships because of the challenges we now face? I think yes, as we show our strengths to survive all the madness around us today, when the masks come off we will no longer take one another for granted. There will be respect and compassion towards one another, and we will love each other unconditionally as God created us to do. There is always a hope for our upcoming generations.
Angela Westbrook: A free spirit who has God first in my life. I enjoy learning new things and jotting down my thoughts. I try to keep my life simple as I grow older, no longer taking things for granted. Putting pen to paper over many years into life and prayer journals has allowed me to reflect back over my life to see that I am no longer defined by what I do for employment but who I have become as a woman of faith.
We, Too, Are America is made possible through “Democracy and the Informed Citizen,” an initiative administered by the Federation of State Humanities Council through a grant from the Mellon Foundation.