OSV publisher Scott Richert writes in his latest “From the Chapel” post that “Our attempts…
From the Chapel — May 27: Mother’s Day
“From the Chapel” is a series of short, daily reflections on life and faith in a time of uncertainty. As people across the world cope with the effects of the coronavirus — including the social isolation necessary to combat its spread — these reflections remind us of the hope that lies at the heart of the Gospel.
Today my mother, Mary Anne Richert, turned 80 years old. She and my father still live in my hometown of Spring Lake, Michigan. We haven’t seen them, except on FaceTime, since St. Stephen’s Day, over five months ago.
When we moved from Rockford, Illinois, to Huntington, Indiana, one thing we looked forward to was seeing our parents more often. In our 22 years in Rockford, the distance between Spring Lake or Swartz Creek, Michigan (where Amy’s parents lived), and Rockford became greater and greater. As our parents grew older, they were less likely to visit us, and as the traffic around Chicago grew and our children became more involved in extracurricular activities, we were less likely to visit them.
Trading in a four-and-a-half to six hour trip for three hours to either the west side of Michigan or the east, and getting rid of a major metropolis and endless road construction in between, meant more frequent visits for our first couple of years here. But COVID-19 brought that to a crashing halt until a few days ago, when Amy took two of our daughters up to Michigan to spend a week or so with her father. And now we’re looking forward to figuring out when we can get to the west side of the state to see my parents once again.
In years past, we marked the milestones of my parents’ lives with trips to Mackinac Island (when they turned 60 and 75) and a cruise to Canada (for their 50th wedding anniversary). I don’t think another cruise is on the horizon, and even another trip to the Grand Hotel might have to wait until they turn 85.
The focus on what young people have missed because of COVID-19 has at least partly to do with our own longing for youth long lost, and the regrets we have because, as the saying goes, youth is wasted on the young. We haven’t seen much about our parents and grandparents having to spend a significant portion of the time they have left on this earth isolated for their own safety — and what we have seen has been the (at best) unthinking, but too often frankly despicable, remark that “the only people dying of COVID-19 are people who were going to die soon anyway.” One of the items always left off of the lists of things that young people are missing right now is the time that they could have been spending with their grandparents. There will be more dances, more sporting events, more time spent with friends their age. The time that they have to spend with an older generation is far more limited.
While my mother will celebrate her birthday today inside with my father, I’m grateful that they are still able to live on their own, and haven’t been subjected to the nightmarish conditions that so many of our elderly are enduring in nursing homes across the nation as a result of COVID-19. We’ll FaceTime them in a little while, and my mother will ask each of us what we’ve been doing. “Not much,” we’ll all reply, as we always do, because our schoolwork and our work work are not the most important things in life — not nearly as important as those precious moments we get to spend, even remotely, with her.
Happy birthday, Mom.
Scott P. Richert is publisher for OSV.