It seems that COVID-19 is causing division everywhere.
A wonderful family I know, living close by each other, is being driven apart due to this dreaded virus!
Initially, everyone locked down. Once things opened up, a family bubble was created:
Adult children (brothers and a sister), their respective spouses and children, the parents, and an elderly grandmother. They all adhered to social distancing and masks when they weren’t together.
But when school opened, some opted to send their children. The daughter declined. Free interaction between siblings (and young cousins) stopped.
At Thanksgiving, the daughter’s family couldn’t gather with those who were more exposed. Resentment was sensed over their avoiding that gathering.
Now, one wife’s returning to work post-maternity leave. The husband’s parents say they’ll care for the baby.
At a child’s indoor birthday party, multiple people from different households/workplaces attended.
The daughter left a gift, after a brief distanced greeting.
She’s pleaded with her parents not to babysit, but they feel needed. She’s also concerned about her grandmother.
Another wife has offered to babysit. That’d create a two-family bubble with both sets of schoolkids and parents who go to work.
The parents and elderly matriarch could return to the bubble with the daughter’s family (after self-isolation) and be better protected.
But since Thanksgiving, there’s hurt on both sides. Communication’s awkward.
Recently, there’ve been COVID-19 cases locally and the hospital has declared an outbreak.
How can this family go forward?
Divided and Hurting
It’s not surprising that the pandemic’s divided some people from family, friends, neighbours, also from politicians, public health officials, school boards, and different age cohorts.
There are no sure outcomes or easy decisions about this “novel” coronavirus. It strikes where it can.
Being outdoors when possible, observing distancing, keeping loved ones in a safe bubble of like-minded behaviour, all would be ideal.
But people have the right, still, to choose their own way.
Many families sent their children to school for positive reasons: Children’s need for sociability, a preferred way to learn, allowing parents to return to work, helping the economy tick upwards...
But that doesn’t mean everything’s safe - e.g. a large birthday party inside, a Thanksgiving dinner including several families, schoolchildren, older parents and an aged grandmother... choices that could’ve started a virus spread.
The daughter’s doing what she believes in. So are the siblings and their spouses. The parents/grandmother are, frankly, taking their chances.
No matter your personal sympathies here, it’s up to them. Unless we have the unavoidable need to follow the tough example in Europe of countries shutting down completely again, more strictly than before.
Because that’s where it leads if we don’t all understand what precautions are essential, now.
This is far bigger than a family rift.
Reader’s Commentary - Regarding the remarried father’s dementia, and his daughter’s concern about his will (October 26):
“You’re right about the future costs his wife will incur. My wife has dementia, and it’s costing me over $100,000 a year for personal support workers’ (PSW) care.
“There’s also the cost of the long-term care section of the residence where we both live. We’re not wealthy and it’s possible this’ll continue for several years.
“The daughter might discover, as I did, that a person who’s in her father’s condition cannot have their will changed.
“She shouldn’t be concerning herself about inheritance, but about her father’s condition. And instead, gathering moments they can share. These moments are going to disappear, as is the money.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who became a sperm-donor for his close female friend and the baby is due soon (Oct. 22):
Reader – “I’m a sperm donor and run a related website.
“It's important to stick to what you agree on so that it doesn't make the situation uncomfortable, affecting the friendship.
“I suggest that this man embrace the time he has with the child, without overstepping the comfort zone.
“I don't think any guy will know how he really feels until the baby’s born, but it’s a delicate situation and letting nature take its course is needed.”
Ellie - Initially, the would-be mother assured the sperm-donor that “I wouldn’t have to take on any paternal responsibilities.”
But other readers with experience in this area say that having a legal agreement is important and may be open to change over time.
Interested readers can do an online search regarding this topic.
Tip of the day:
COVID-19 remains with us for some months ahead. If people you care about take risks, connect virtually only.