Celebrating 6 Feet Apart
By Katie Loudermilk
On Monday afternoon, November 23rd, I called my grandmother to wish her a happy birthday.
She just turned 74 and I was planning on visiting her in Georgia the day after Thanksgiving.
Neither she nor my grandfather has met my new husband since they could not make it to the wedding this past June.
I could hear the disappointment in her voice when she said the COVID numbers were rising again and asked us to not visit them the upcoming weekend.
I have never seen or heard my grandmother cry until this phone call. It has been over a year since I have seen my grandparents.
Most of my family live in the Atlanta area and I really wanted to see them.
My husband and I were supposed to visit in August, but our flight got canceled because of the pandemic.
After a long discussion with my husband and parents, we decided to fly up.
My birthday was on Saturday after Thanksgiving and all I wanted was to see my family again.
On Thursday afternoon, we flew from Tampa and made it safely to the Atlanta airport.
We wore our masks from the moment we entered the airport up to the moment we walked out of baggage claim to meet my mom and sister.
For our Thanksgiving meal on Friday, my mom had to order a meal from Publix since she was not planning on cooking.
I called my grandmother to check on her and she said she had all this food cooked she was planning to serve us.
My heart was broken for her, but I had to keep a positive sound in my voice during the phone call.
The next day, my husband and I drove up to my dad and his family’s house.
We had to wash our hands immediately when walked in the door since they have young kids and the youngest is only 11 months.
My stepmom took me to the store to grab a few things and the mask mandate was just as extreme as it was back home in Florida.
I found out that evening that my dad’s parents were going to visit us, but my Nana is not healthy enough to travel or be exposed to COVID.
I had not seen them in over two years.
If there is one thing his whole experience has made me realize, it’s how precious family time is.