Luella Decker

Photo courtesy of Taylor Hayden.

During the time of this COVID-19 pandemic, many people have their personal circle of family or friends that they keep in touch with. My inner circle includes my grandma, Luella Decker. Her life, however, has been especially hectic even before this health crisis ever occurred.

My grandmother had radiation treatments for breast cancer leading right up into the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, she was able to finish her treatments before social distancing guidelines were put in place.

“It’s a little scary… you’re more vulnerable of getting it if you go out,” she explains.

Once reports and news articles started coming out about this virus being prone to affecting the elderly, fear not only ran through my grandmother, but my mother, Renae Hayden, as well.

Hayden explains, “the only time we get to see them is if we come all geared up in masks and stand six feet from the door, ring the doorbell, drop stuff off. We cannot always do that. She [Decker] doesn’t want us out and about.”

As a mother, you worry for your daughter’s safety, which is exactly what Decker was doing by not wanting her daughter and grandchildren being out and about. At the same time, Hayden was worried for her mother and wanted to make sure that she would not catch this and accidentally give it to Decker.

As a precaution, my grandmother only goes out every two to two and a half weeks for groceries and any prescriptions that she needs to pick up for herself and my grandfather.

While speaking to my grandmother, she sweetly says, “we just miss the kids... we miss you guys.”

Though we see her through the door or the window when dropping things off to her, we do not get the same time that we did before. I was able to sit with her in the picture above for the first time since this whole pandemic had started. Any other time was behind a door, and it is hard when you cannot hug them goodbye.

This then makes it especially unfortunate for my grandfather, Leonard Decker, who has Alzheimer’s. Going and seeing him often is immensely important so that we stay in his memory for as long as possible. With this virus going on, we have not been able to see him.

The results have already begun to show.

“Grandpa’s having a hard time remembering your names,” my grandmother says. "Lilianna and Nicky? He has a hard time with their names.”

Nicolas Hayden is my brother, while Lilianna Hayden is my niece. It is a terrifying thought that, because of social distancing, my grandfather may slowly stop remembering who my brother and his daughter are. We try to stay in touch as much as possible so that it helps fight against it.

This is the story of hundreds of families around the world as we deal with the coronavirus. We all just have to take it one day at a time.

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