The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the way we live our lives. Though seemingly drastic, our current situation is the “new normal.” For everybody’s safety, we quarantine ourselves in our homes, hoping that decreased human-to-human contact will slow the spread of the virus.
While we’re allowed to step out of our houses, we can only do so only when it’s essential. And once we’re outside, we are to observe strict social distancing protocols. We can’t interact with other people the way we used to, and this separation has definitely put a strain on our relationships with friends and family.
COVID-19 claimed not only millions of lives, but it also took away every ounce of normalcy we used to enjoy. Before this outbreak, we were free to meet up with friends and go anywhere we please anytime. Now, it’s the complete opposite.
The coronavirus has precipitated a lot of inconveniences; it has left many people feeling alone, anxious, and isolated. During these unprecedented times, it hurts that we can’t even be near our own family, specifically our grandparents.
Older people – especially those with preexisting conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer – are more likely to have severe—even lethal—coronavirus infections than other age groups. Because of this, in-person visits to the elderly are limited. This can be particularly difficult, knowing that it’s our grandparents who cherish time spent with family the most.
This young girl from Riverside, California, is missing her grandma and grandpa amid this pandemic—especially their hugs—so she came up with a smart solution. 10-year-old Paige worked tirelessly to create what she calls a hug curtain – a plastic curtain with arm slots that would allow her and her grandparents to hug.
She was inspired to start the project after seeing a video of a blanket being used by people to embrace their family members.
Using a shower curtain, a hot glue gun, disposable plates, and Ziploc bags, Paige and her mom, Lindsay Okray, used their creativity and worked together to turn the girl’s vision into reality.
“She came up with the idea, she laid it out in the family room and spent multiple hours working on it,” Lindsay said.
Thanks to their ingenuity, the project was a success! Paige was able to hug her grandparents through the plastic curtain, and there’s no denying how happy it made them.
Lindsay, who works as a nurse in the COVID-19 unit at Riverside Community Hospital, had to distance herself from her parents as a precaution. But now that the hug curtain is in place, she’s excited to wrap her folks in an embrace, even if it’s only through a plastic curtain.
Other stories involving grandparents amid the pandemic made headlines in the past couple of months. In New York, this family didn’t let coronavirus stop them from celebrating their matriarch’s 95th birthday.
The Byrne family wanted to greet Grandma Byrne from a safe distance, so they came up with a plan. Complete with balloons and decorations, the bunch lined up on their grandma’s front lawn and sang her a happy birthday. Grandma Byrne had the biggest smile on her face as her family sang to her.
In Ireland, a poignant story involving a grandfather and his newborn grandson went viral. Unlike most newborn photos that feature grandparents cradling their grandchild, this Irish granddad’s first picture with baby Faolán looked a lot different. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Míchéal Gallachoir, Faolán’s dad, was forced to introduce his son to his grandfather through a glass window.
We’re all looking forward to the day when this nightmare ends, but until then, let’s make an effort to reach out to our family members and make them feel less alone. Amid a crisis such as this, there’s nothing more powerful knowing that there are people who love you and are there for you, even if they’re far away.
Below is the emotional reunion of Paige with her grandparents: