Brutal Effects of COVID Isolation
By Chris Rathbone
This has been a thought and prayer of mine many times over the last year. For sure it has come across the lips and thoughts of many of God’s children. The events of 2020 have placed a lot of hardships upon most all folks. The emotional, mental, physical, and financial consequences will most likely be felt for a long time. A lot of folks are right now in some of the direst circumstances they have faced in their lives. For sure this past year will be talked about in history lessons (if it is allowed) for years to come if God allows time to stand. Do you know how our grandparents used to tell us of things they went through? Well, if we live long enough, we’ll be telling our grandchildren about 2020!
We have endured a pandemic, clowns in politics, the bias in news media, one of the most ungodly attacks on a sitting president on either side of the political aisle, nonsensical mandates handed down by people who have no idea of the struggles of everyday working people, division on a scale not seen in decades, riots from special interest groups who just want to cause chaos, etc, etc, etc. In the middle of all this, the politicians, and media, who for the most part aren’t affected that much by the decisions that they are insisting everyone but themselves abide by, are overlooking the effects this mess is having on the regular citizen.
They insisted that businesses close down or operate at a reduced capacity without any regard for how the owners or employees will provide for their families. What little help was given ended because of the division across the political landscape. While they were arguing about trying to secure funding for things that had nothing to do with helping people, American citizens were the ones scrambling to pay the bills while the rich politicians did not have to worry about anything but reelection……just saying.
Not only has there been the economic toll, but there has been a human toll that goes beyond what the numbers the media throws at us every single day. Now before you start getting all ruffed up at me thinking I don’t care about anybody, let me share a few things. I personally know folks that died or had loved ones that have died because of the effects left behind by COVID. My mom has been in the hospital for over 4 weeks recovering from it. Several members of my extended family have had it and some are now sick while I’m sitting here writing this article. Matter of fact, I’ve had it myself. Not for a minute am I downplaying the seriousness of this illness. Daily I pray for those who are sick and for the protection of others. Masks, social distancing, drive-in services, online services, etc., are things we have done in my family and church family to help. And you know what, folks still got sick….just saying. If you’re not too mad at me to keep reading, let me share something personal that has taken place in my own family. A story and many others like it that the media and politicians are ignoring on purpose.
For many years, my mom’s health has been in decline. The last 2 years have been especially tough. She was in and out of the hospital many times. During this time, my dad very seldom left her side. Keep in mind that he is almost 83 years old. He has sat at her bedside often day and night. Several times I pleaded with him to let me take him home and rest, but he would refuse. On the few occasions he did, early the next morning he was back at her side. To be honest, a few times when she was in for rehab, Dad would take her home before she was ready. This only made things worse in the long run, but all they could think about in their minds was being home together. Eventually, Mom’s health declined to the point where she could no longer stand or walk. As it was no longer safe for either one of them for her to be home, she made the hard but reluctant decision to enter a local long term care facility. She didn’t want to go, Dad didn’t want her to go, we didn’t want her to go, but her declining health condition forced a necessary decision. Dad went to see her every day. Some days staying all day till just before dark. Each evening he left, there would be tears as Mom would want him to stay. When he would get home, he called my phone saying he wanted to bring Mom home. Many times the conversation got heated between me and Dad because he thinks she can come home but her health just will not allow it. He still tells me almost every time we talk, he wants Mom home.
Now fast forward to last March. As the news of the virus came to the forefront, suddenly, my parents who have been married for over 61 years were told they cannot see each other. Dad would sometimes go to the door three times a day to see Mom only to be told he can’t. He would come home and call me to tell me they wouldn’t let him see her. This was a daily occurrence for months. They were only allowed phone calls, a few visits through windows, and a few outside visits with no contact. In no way am I accusing nor blaming the wonderful caregivers at our local facility, they are only doing what has been handed down to them. To Dad and Mom, however, all they could understand was that they were being kept apart. Dad was already struggling with memory issues. When he wasn’t allowed to visit Mom, these issues accelerated tremendously. Since March, I have slowly watched the life and joy fade from my Dad’s eyes. A man who was full of jokes, life, and busyness is dying from depression and loneliness. My Dad will most likely die because of COVID, but not in the way many would think.
We can do better. Somewhere in the middle of all this our society, especially those making blanket decisions, needs to have compassion and considerations for situations like this. The sad thing is that tens of thousands of people are suffering the same way. I’ve talked to many workers who share the suffering that is going on in these facilities not because of the virus, but because of loneliness. Several times both my parents have said they have nothing to live for now.
Certainly, I’m not claiming to know exactly what to do, but somewhere, somehow, someone needs to see that it is better for folks like my parents to at least be able to see each other. Many don’t have but a few years left and for our society and government to force them to live it out in loneliness and misery is unethical and immoral. Financial and health complications leave many with no other option but to have loved ones in long term healthcare facilities.
Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us; we can count on that. These have been difficult days and according to scripture will continue in that direction. I’m certainly not losing hope for my hope is in Him. My grandmother, Mammie, would pray for death or Jesus to come. As a young man with my whole life before me, I just couldn’t understand why anyone would pray for that. As I’ve watched my parents and all the events transpire over the last year, now I understand. Keep looking up children of God, Jesus is coming soon. Even so, quickly come Lord Jesus.
“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20
Preacher Chris Rathbone serves as Pastor at Mine Creek Baptist Church.
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