Through the plexiglass darkly.

Who would have thought six months ago that this blasted redoubtable pandemic would still have the whole world in its grip come August? When I hugged Peter goodbye that March Friday, who knew my almost daily visits would be reduced to FaceTime, chats through the fence surrounding the facility or, lately, peering at each other through a plexiglass shield?

Now residents’ families can schedule twenty minute visits outside, weather permitting, with their loved one, a recent change. The meetings take place in a secure area, one visitor at a time with no touching, eating or drinking permitted. As should be, the visitor must complete a questionnaire, have their temperature taken and wear a mask.

Brandi had already taken Peter to the shielded area when I arrived yesterday. His eyes popped and he did his “Oh, it’s you,” routine when I walked up. Right away he wanted to know why I had “that thing” on my face. “Because I have jam on my mouth,” I joked. He thought that was pretty funny.

Like the gloomy day, Peter was foggy, a bit more so than usual. It was hard to hear his raspy voice through the plexiglass and his ever more rambling comments made the visit difficult. He brightened, interested, when I told him I’d heard from friends in England. He remembered them, their home where we’d visited many times, and he laughed at the name of the village where they now live—Oxshott. For just that brief bit of conversation he was present, in the moment. I felt better for the glimpse of the old Peter.

When my time was up, he tried to find a crack in the plexiglass to put his hand through. Since we couldn’t hug each other I showed him how to hug himself—arms crossed over his chest, hands gripping his shoulders—while I did the same. He made silly faces, but his eyes were sad. Then, just as I stood to leave, he really looked at me. “Do you have everything you need?” he asked. His concern was apparent.

That tiny shard of clarity—wondering about my circumstances — so surprised me that it brought tears to my eyes. “I’m fine,” I said. My eyes continued to mist over as I walked to my car. It would take more than one cup of tea to make me right.

Header:  Peter’s photo-perfect smile even shines through plexiglass.

 

 

 

2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist. 

23 thoughts on “Through the plexiglass darkly.

  1. I cried at lunch when I read this.
    And then everyone else did too.
    You’re such an amazing writer Judith 💕

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    • Well thank you, Chick. Didn’t mean to make you cry altho’ I should’t be surprised, should I? ❤

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  2. Tough times for sure .. unfair for all but esp those in nursing homes … and for those who love them going home alone .. ❤️

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  3. Such a beautiful and touching time. There is magic in the world and always in love! You are both in my heart….. as I truly understands. I’ve been there! Enjoy each special moment!! Joan

    On Fri, Aug 7, 2020 at 12:25 PM Dementia isn’t funny. wrote:

    > judithclarkewrites posted: “Who would have thought six months ago that > this blasted redoubtable pandemic would still have the whole world in its > grip come August? When I hugged Peter goodbye that March Friday, who knew > my almost daily visits would be reduced to FaceTime, chats throu” >

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  4. Also brought mist to my eyes then big fat “missing your man” tears. You really did get a gift from your Peter today. Such a strange time in our lives. Thank you once again for sharing your story.💗

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  5. Each entry you write goes right to the heart. Thank you for sharing your moments and feelings. You’ll never know how much your words are appreciated!

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