Monday, September 28, 2020

A tribute to mothers of all ages

| May 10, 2020 1:00 AM

It’s been an extraordinary year so far for everyone as the COVID-19 pandemic has dropped the bottom out of our normal lives. Even as we inch our way toward what seems normal, everything is different than our pre-pandemic world.

We’ve all had to adapt to this unprecedented situation, and I feel for everyone who is caring for others in this environment. But today my heart goes out to mothers — mothers who are juggling jobs and homeschooling their children in our new reality, mothers who are caring for their parents, mothers who lie awake at night wondering what the future holds for their children.

Fathers, of course, also are feeling the pressure. Parents are being asked to go the distance to hold their families together amid job losses, closed schools and playgrounds, and the uncertainty that swirls around all of us. But today, it’s all about our mothers and their undying love for their children — and our profound love for them.

I want to thank all of you who have emailed, sent cards and offered so many well wishes to me as my mother’s situation remains precarious at best. You have gotten me through this tough time, and we’re not out of the woods yet. As you’ll recall, my brothers and I were informed April 17 that a resident at the nursing home in Minnesota where my 91-year-old mother resides had tested positive for coronavirus. It sent us into a tailspin, and the inevitable happened. Within a couple of days 10 residents and several staff members tested positive, and the numbers keep climbing.

In the nursing home’s latest report issued May 7, the positive case count was 19 active residents, 17 staff members and six inactive residents (I’m thinking inactive means completely non-ambulatory). And the numbers keep climbing, albeit more slowly now.

My Aunt Virgie is in the same facility, as are about a half-dozen mothers of my friends from high school. We’re not alone in our dilemma.

An interesting twist to this dilemma is the fact that this nursing home company, which has several facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area, has been able to do widespread COVID-19 testing at its North Dakota facilities because there’s an ample amount of tests available. Yet just across the Red River into Moorhead, Minnesota, where my mom resides, administrators have lamented the lack of tests available.

“Without the ability to test all of our staff and residents, we continue to be unable to detect asymptomatic carriers,” the administrator of my mother’s facility said in his latest directive. “Successfully cohorting infected residents and furloughing infected staff will be difficult without necessary testing.”

Apparently it’s not an option for the North Dakota facilities to share testing supplies with Minnesota facilities, and that’s frustrating. When this dire situation first came to light, I was admittedly distraught, to the point where I literally made myself sick with worry. Since then I’ve gone through what feels like the various emotional stages similar to grieving the loss of a loved one — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I’ve made my peace with the possibility I will never be able to see my mom again. I’ve had a couple of very short phone conversations with her. She sounds confused because of her dementia, but OK. During our last conversation I told her I loved her, and she replied “Love you, too.”

In the end, love is all that matters.

News Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or