While Thousands Protested Freely, My Grandmother Died Alone During Lockdown

“Don’t worry,” the mob said, “Grandma is safer than ever.”

Except my grandmother wasn’t. She died “recovering” in a skilled nursing facility a week-and-a-half after a fall at home broke her neck. From walking and talking, my 88-year-old grandmother deteriorated into a catatonic state in quarantine. Her family was instructed to socially distance for her health and safety.

. . .Perhaps the elderly are forgotten afterthoughts, pushed to the periphery of society because we believe they no longer contribute to the social fabric — they’re “non-essential.” Or perhaps it’s just easier for everyone to go about business as usual, convincing ourselves that we did our duty as sons and daughters, then wiping our hands clean.

. . .I can’t imagine the betrayal and abandonment my grandmother must have felt. It took 10 days of separation from the hospital to the nursing home to her deathbed — an eternity surrounded by unknown people trapped in an unknown place where days blended into nights. I’m fairly certain my grandmother died of a broken heart.

. . .Only 10 people were allowed at the Mass service originally, including the priest. My mother pushed for 15. We had to be judicious with which family members could attend. My grandmother had seven children, 11 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. If the funeral had occurred a week later, when Allegheny County moved to the “Yellow Phase,” the governor would have allowed 25 of us. (Read more from “While Thousands Protested Freely, My Grandmother Died Alone During Lockdown” HERE)

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