Sheltering in Place Part 7 – Facing Decisions in the New Normal

Week 11 of Shelter-in-Place.

My 96-year-old mother is sheltering-in-place by herself in the small New England town where I grew up. I was scheduled to visit her in mid-May before I canceled my travel plans. I’ve been thinking of rescheduling my visit now while restrictions are just starting to loosen, before Sarana re-opens, before I am exposed to more people, before the presumed second wave of CoVid19 infections occur, and while the weather is mild. But there are still risks to both of us from travel itself.

This is not a light decision.

I emailed my mother and sibs for their input. My brother shared his experience in flying back from Mexico on the last days before California initiated shelter-in-place and offered to drive cross country with me. My sister offered to let me quasi-quarantine at her house in upstate New York and then drive me to Mom’s. But my mother refused. She said that she wouldn’t be able to relax knowing the risks her children were taking to visit her. She said that she was ok, venturing out only once-a-week with the friend who took her grocery shopping. She said that she was reporting in daily to the local police, a program that her town had set up when the Senior Center closed in March. She expects to live long enough to wait for a CoVid19 vaccine and she promised to let us know when she needed our presence.

Tough decisions. Some would say that I should ignore Mom’s refusal and go see her anyway. Hard to say. I feel good about respecting her judgement and accepting her decision, bad about not seeing her. Life is uncertain, even back in pre-CoVid days, when we thought we knew what to expect of life. The only wisdom I can offer myself is to choose as carefully as I can and then move on — as Yogi Berra may have said: “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Stay well,


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