I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Creativity needed in connecting with loved ones

The situation with the Coronavirus has, pretty much, quarantined families and limited contact with family and friends. For introverts spending time at home may not be so daunting. Extroverts find the lack of human contact frustrating and imprisoning. However, there are creative ways to stay in contact with the outside world.

I am thankful for today’s technology which allows us access to friends, family, and work in so many ways. We do not simply have phones, we have smartphones that are an extension of ourselves and makes us available. We have email and social media, all of which helps us stay in contact.

How can we make contact feel more intimate and close? My voice isn’t always easy to understand, especially over the phone, and even worse if the person with whom I am speaking has a hearing problem. Like many other older persons, I remember getting cards and letters that touched my hearts and that I kept to read, and to reread.

In an era of digitizing, few take the time to send cards and heartfelt letters. When my 94-year-old father-in-law went into lockdown in a senior care home, he found it difficult to communicate with me via phone, Instead, I communicated with him by snail mail, writing about our lives in a weekly card in which I sometimes added a picture or two of the grandkids—his great-grandkids.

During this time, Keith and I learned to use Zoom for meetings, and with family and friends. Keith has recorded books on video, showing the different pictures, to send to our three and one-year-old grandchildren.

Keith’s family stays in touch through a texting loop as well as a private Facebook page.  Birthdays and other events can be celebrated with colorful graphics and even animations via email, Facebook or other social media, many of which can be found and used without cost.

It was difficult not to be in personal contact with Keith’s dad because of the lockdown. Keith’s brother Randy found a way to see dad. He’d go to dad’s window where Dad could see him and communicate via the phone.

When Keith’s brother Mark died of a freak accident at the end of April 2020, the surviving siblings—Keith Randy, Rhonda, and Tim—needed to be together and needed to spend time with dad who just lost a son. They conceived of a way. With the assistance of Bethany Home staff, the siblings brought chairs and settled into a small secondary entryway. The staff settled Dad on the other side of the door with his phone.

Dad got to see all his remaining kids close up, saw they were OK, and got to speak to each one. Keith said Dad had a big smile the whole time they were there. It was good for them all.

Though restrictions loosened for a while, some restrictions are back. For now, it may take some creativity and thought to stay in contact, but if we’re willing we can stay in communication until we are free to come and go and receive and give what is so important to our mental and physical health—personal contact and hugs.

© 2020 Carolyn R Scheidies

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