No choice was a good choice

The hardest part of the pandemic for me was the end of October 2020 when my

90 year old father in St. Louis MO, found that any additional treatments would still only give him a few more months. He had just successfully weathered a new heart valve the two months prior, but this was new. He was completely of sound mind, and knew further treatments would be invasive for such little time. He decided it wasn't worth it and went into Hospice.

Living in NYC for 30 years, I had been visiting St. Louis three or four times a year, but I hadn't been to St. Louis since March of 2020 when covid started. I was ready to go, but nervous to fly. My entire family was willing to drive the 14 hours to say good-bye in person. The very next morning though the headlines blared that the midwest was under siege from Covid. My family discussed it, and we decided it was really too risky now for us to drive through these states with sky high numbers (given that my husband and I are 60 and had lost several friends around our age back at the beginning of the Pandemic).

I think I cried every day for 2 weeks. It was hard for others to console me.

There wasn't a good solution. And even if we went, my 88 year old mother (who lives independently but was obviously at risk if she caught it) couldn't be hugged, much less see her much since no visitors were allowed where she lives. I would also have to keep a good distance from all other family members. Face time came to the rescue and I (and my adult children & husband) were able to have some beautiful talks with my dad. Oddly enough, he was able to see my face, while the two visitors he was allowed always came masked up.

My family helped me be part of the funeral as well - it was livestreamed, and my niece held up her phone (on facetime) to the microphone so my adult daughter and I could both talk. We were heard crystal clear by those present in person as well as those watching online, but I still ache from not being with my family. Being Jewish I should have sat shiva with my family, but there was no shiva, even in St. Louis. Zoom stepped in for a few family shiva-like calls to talk and tell stories. Not the same, but it had to do. I held my own version of Shiva in New York, where friends stopped by on nice days outside on our front steps. Again, it wasn't the same, but it had to do.

Covid stopped centuries old traditions to help with life passages.