I Need A REAL Hug!



B Y J O A N I E T H O M P S O N A K A “ G R A M M Y ” I NEED A REAL HUG! As a lady in the beginning of her eighth decade, I have lived through some interesting times. The year 2020 has certainly been one of them. During my eighty plus years, I have been a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I am “Grammy” to four grands and five great-grands, plus several great stepchildren and their wonderful families. I have also been a scout leader, room mother, church lay reader, Salvation Army auxiliary member, church circle leader, hospital auxiliary president, etc. When my children were older and in school all day, I worked outside my home. Realizing my time and labor was worth a monetary sum was something new to me. My paid positions included dental assistant, tutor for elementary children, teacher’s assistant, and patient representative for a large hospital, until my retirement. As you can see, I have been busy… until now.


I N E E D A R E A L H U G !


Early in the spring of 2020, life as I knew it came to a screeching halt, not only for me, but for most of the world. At first, I managed quite well, and to be honest it was kind of nice not having to rush off to some activity every morning. It was like a “staycation.” Now I sometimes have to look at my calendar to see what day it is. With no point of reference, it is hard to differentiate one day from another. I compare my life now to the old Bill Murray movie, “Ground Hog Day,” where every day is the same. Tuesday is just like Monday, and Wednesday is just like Tuesday, and so on. Seniors have their own set of concerns during this pandemic. We will not lose our jobs like younger folks since most of us are retired, but we are faced with isolation. As many of us live alone, we depend

distancing,” “coronavirus,” “wash-your-hands-and-wear-your-mask,” “virtual hugs,” and “air kisses.” I need a REAL hug! I don’t get to walk the aisles of my favorite stores like I used to. Instead, I pick up groceries in parking lots and use drive-throughs for the pharmacy and food. I do little to no shopping for fun stuff like clothes and makeup. Where is the need for dressing up and using makeup when I’m not in public very often? At the beginning of the shut-down, I would use makeup and dress up, but now it’s happening less and less often. The definition of casual is, “designed for informal use.” I am becoming more casual every day! I guess my Sunday routine is the most different. Sunday was the day when I was up early, dressed up and had my makeup on.

on communicating with family and friends. We enjoy getting together for meetings, cards and meals. I jokingly refer to where I live as the “home” just as Sophia Petrillo of “The Golden Girls” did of the residence where her daughter Dorothy Zbornak put her. I actually live in an independent senior community where, if wanted, I can have lunch and dinner provided. Before the pandemic, these meals were served in a dining room that included my neighbor friends. Then in one day, BAM! I was eating alone in my little cottage. Getting my meals delivered is now reminiscent of prison movies, where they shove the tray of food through the bars. Most times, a meal is swiftly handed through the front door by the masked face and gloved hands of the kitchen staff. No neighbor friends, no fun conversation and no communal dining. Last summer after our evening meal, a group of us would sit in the rocking chairs on the porch outside the

I would leave the house by 9 a.m. for Sunday school and church. After church, I’d join my church friends for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. Now, there’s no Sunday school or church attendance and no eating out. I watch my church services on my iPad in my jammies and robe. I especially miss my church and all that goes with it. Our God gives us churches so we can worship Him corporately and so we can make friends and be a friend to others. Love thy neighbor! I am a people person, and I get my energy from being with others. I am a true extrovert. Yes, I am being very careful. Some might say too careful, but I believe I have three strikes against me. I am 82 years young and I have cardiac and respiratory concerns. Many of us here in my living community believe being careful and staying well is super important. Yes, I miss my family, especially my grands and great- grands. There is nothing better for the soul than being around

dining room and enjoy a friendly visit. Now after dinner, it’s more television, usually the news, with more statistics concerning cases of COVID-19… just what I want to hear. Thank goodness for television, telephone, texting, email, FaceTime, my iPad, and reading. At least these modern inventions keep us in touch with each other and the outside world. Even our vocabulary has changed. I am reminded of the new words and phrases we now use so often, like “self-quarantine,” “social

the young people and children having a happy time. I miss my friends, my church, my activities, hugs and kisses, but I thank God every day in my prayers I have a daughter close by who can help me when needed. I practice distancing from her, but I look forward to the day I can thank her with a big hug like the old days. I also thank God for keeping my family, friends and me safe and well. So, as 2020 eventually disappears, I will always remember what it was like living through a pandemic.


I N E E D A R E A L H U G !

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