She hasn’t left her house since March 15th.
No trips to the store. No hair appointments. No going out, period.
She’s survived like she always has, through grit and grace and a large dose of stubbornness.
“This isn’t going to be what takes me down,” she told me from the beginning, and I believe her.
She’s already survived so much.
She came from a small dilapidated farmhouse, the oldest of nine. She joined the military at 18 to get out of a poor Ohio town, was married at 19 and taking care of a baby at 20 while my dad worked three jobs and studied for his GED.
She raised three kids, went back to school, took in most of our relatives at one time or another, spoiled all her grandkids, cared for my dad as he died from smoking-related lung cancer, and moved in with me twice to help my family out when I was too sick to do it on my own.
Last year, she ended up in the hospital for the first time in her life to fight pneumonia, and then had hip replacement surgery. This virus terrifies her.
“This isn’t going to be what takes me down,” she said. And I believe her.
But as my little family drove across the country for a socially-distanced vacation at the beach, we went miles out of our way to visit her for just a few hours.
We sat in the garage she swept two days ago in the chairs she set out in a circle. We wiped our tray tables down with the Lysol wipes and wore our masks most of the time. Her hair was grown out and you can tell she ached to wrap her aging arms around her young granddaughters.
And it was both the most beautiful and gut-wrenchingly sad thing I have ever done in my life.
She is part of The Greatest Generation. The grandparents who sacrifice everything for their kids and grandkids and great-grandkids. She has worked in some capacity every day of her life. At 78, she still mows her lawn and reads about four books a week.
And with no end in sight, she assures me on my daily calls. “I’m doing just fine. I am OK with this quiet life.”
She is the hardest hit by this pandemic but doesn’t complain. She is one of the many making great sacrifices.
She will make it through only because of her grit and by the grace of God while the rest of the world burns around her.
This isn’t going to be what takes her down.
From your lips to God’s ears, Mom.