Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Dealing with separation during COVID-19 July 21, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 12:00 PM
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I took this photo of my mom in early March, before care centers closed to visitors. This is inside her room.


SEPARATION. It’s a difficult word. One fraught with emotion and consequences and challenges. Never have I felt such depth of separation as during these months of living during a global pandemic.

Separation from friends and family. Separation from places and routines and all that defines a sense of normalcy.

Yet, despite the loss I feel in separation, it is far worse for our seniors, for those like my mom and my father-in-law, both living in long-term care centers. Mom lives in a small facility in a small southwestern Minnesota town. My husband’s dad lives in a large facility in one of our state’s bigger central Minnesota cities. That care center has had cases of COVID among residents and staff.

Yet, they both have faced the same issues—confinement to their rooms, isolation, lack of physical contact with family… Some of that has changed now as these homes are opening up more to in-house activities and outside supervised visits with family and friends. That takes the edge off. Yet, for too many, the long-term effects of cognitive and physical decline linger.

I’m not criticizing the decisions made. In Minnesota, most COVID-19 deaths have occurred in long-term congregate care settings. Every effort needs to be taken to protect this especially vulnerable population. There’s still no physical contact allowed, and rightly so. Staff are doing their best to provide compassionate and loving care.

I last visited my mom, through glass, in late June. If you missed that post, you can read about that experience by clicking here.

But prior to that visit, I wrote another post, this one for Warner Press, an Indiana-based Christian publishing company. I lead Warner’s blogging ministry. That post, “Dealing with Separation during COVID-19,” published today. I’d encourage you to click here and read that story. And then, if you’re so inclined, leave a comment on that post or on the Warner Facebook page. I expect this post will resonate with many of you. Feel free to share the post with others also.

If you’re dealing with separation from a loved one, especially an aging parent, I understand your hurt. Your grief. Your pain. None of this is easy. Not for us. But, especially, for them.


© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Disclaimer: I am paid for my work as the Warner Press blog coordinator.


8 Responses to “Dealing with separation during COVID-19”

  1. I feel for you, my friend!

  2. ((((love, hugs and prayers)))) We have one set of parents close, however; in not living together we practice social distancing for all of our health and safety. The other set of parents is on the West Coast – thank goodness for technology to keep in touch and make sure they are well. Be Safe and Take Care 🙂

    • Thank you for the love, hugs and prayers. I’m thankful you have one set of parents close and that, even when seeing them, you are being careful. I’m thankful also that you can connect via technology with the West Coast parents.

      I have thought of you often recently with the massive COVID outbreak in Florida.

      Here in Minnesota, numbers are up also. Our governor is expected to issue a statewide mask mandate this afternoon. Many MN cities have done so, including most recently Northfield, in my county of Rice. I am incredibly frustrated by the high numbers of people who still do not mask up, including owners and employees at local businesses. I’m to the point where I won’t shop at a business which shows no respect for the health of customers. The last two times I shopped at a local grocery store, the cashier was not wearing a mask. It was strung around her neck. If that’s the case next time, I will refuse to go through her check-out line. I’m venting. But my frustration is building…How are things in Florida with people practicing social distancing and wearing masks?

      Continue to be safe and well, Renee.

    • We have county as well as local mask mandates in place here. Some places have signage as well as PDA’s on the music to mask up while in the store. I pretty much wear a mask throughout the day in being in an office environment. I mask up too in going into places. The one issue I run into is in wearing a mask some people do not think they need to social distance. Yes, please continue to do both. I think a good majority are wearing masks and practicing social distancing here.

  3. There are so many of us in this same situation. Prayers to all who have to suffer the separation that seems so impossible at times.

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