Learning New Ways to Connect With Mom
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Learning New Ways to Connect With Mom

Creativity and technology help families stay in touch when COVID-19 keeps them apart.

Miriam Saul’s family at her mother’s 95th birthday.
Miriam Saul’s family at her mother’s 95th birthday.

As we visit my mother-in-law Arlene Karlick by phone calls, FaceTime and conversations looking up to the two-story balcony from the parking lot, we share feelings with friends who are also experiencing this new way of connecting.

Miriam Saul Misses Personal Touch with Mother Zhenia Greszes

We connect twice a day and tell each other about our day.

Some days are less frustrating than others! As positive as my 97-year-young Mom is, she is realizing that the absence of physical visits may go on for much longer than anyone thought. It is now going on a bit over nine weeks!

We try to connect in new creative ways. We sent mom an iPad. She is wrestling with it, trying to learn (on her own) how to do FaceTime calls. It is so difficult when we can’t be there to show her!

We have been able to connect several times and she has been able to see and talk to the grandkids and great-grand kids. She says those calls give her the fuel and energy she needs. She is so afraid that they will forget her; even the younger ones know and love “mama”! No way they will forget her.

We do drive-by visits and sometimes get to talk to her from afar, but at least we get to do that from time to time when the Renaissance allows. These distance measures are so hard for all. My husband Danny and I also feel the “pain” of not being able to be with our own grandkids. It’s not natural to say, “stay away,” “air kisses and air hugs.” What they must be thinking!

We are grateful for the blessings we have, our health, our family, our friends, we have homes and plenty of food to eat; there are so many who are not as fortunate. We keep waking up each day, thanking Hashem that we are one day closer to the end [of COVID], but when will it be?

My mom keeps me optimistic and reminds me of how lucky we are. Her spirit is amazing and her zest for life is inspiring.

The thing that I look forward to the most when this is all over is to be able to hug and kiss my mom and my grandchildren; I won’t let go!

The situation is what it is, … for now.

Richard Siegel, Judy Schulman, Dr. Garry Siegel and Mark Eden with Lorraine Siegel.

Richard Siegel and Judy Siegel Schulman Appreciate Mom’s Attitude

We are so fortunate to have Mom in our lives for the last 50 years. We lost our mother in 1968, and Dad married Lorraine Eden in 1970. When the families were joined, Lorraine came with her son Mark, and she gained the two of us along with our brother Garry. Since then, the Siegel and Eden families have blended well together.

Mom is truly unbelievable! She is active, smart, thoughtful and positive. She moved into The Piedmont at Buckhead a little more than a year after our father’s death in 2010, and it is a great fit for her. She loves the people, the activities and even the food! It is very rare to hear her complain. All of our friends comment on her attitude and her ability to adapt to any situation. At 95, she still drives, participates in building activities, and until the shut-in, played at the Bridge Club three times a week, where she is a top player. She even goes out of town with her “much younger” friends to bridge tournaments and never misses a beat!

Though we have not seen her since the shut-in, we talk to her every day and see her through Zoom and FaceTime. She tells us that her building has been wonderful, caring, compassionate, and doing everything possible to keep the residents safe. Meals are delivered to her door, and she even says that they are good! She spends her time reading, working on her biography on the computer (a gift from her grandson Brent Eden and his wife Sara), walking outside with friends from the building, and watching Netflix. She can discuss television shows, novels, current events and politics with the best. She has always supported us, all of her children, grandchildren and now her great-grandchildren. Even with the shut-in, she stays in touch with everyone and knows what everyone is doing. She is a great listener and confidante, only offering advice when asked.

Mom totally understands the pandemic and the need for separation and social distancing, and she knows it’s in the best interest of public health to do so. She’s been a real trooper through it all! And while we are not presently able to visit with her in person, we hope that we will soon be able to have dinner together, as we do very often. Her family adores her and she adores us. She’s one in a million and we’re so lucky she’s ours!

Lauri Lavine Admires Mother’s Strength and Positivity

Lauri Lavine and her mother Estelle Karp saying the blessing over the candles during the holidays.

COVID-19 has affected my mother and I positively, because we wouldn’t have it any other way! We used to see each other on the weekends; now I “see” her every day with FaceTime. Though this isolating disease keeps us from physically getting together, we find ways around it. Birthday? No problem! Zoom with the entire family from West to East coast celebrating her! The other day she sounded a bit melancholy, so I asked if everything was ok. She responded with, “I’m a little lonely, but the whole world is right now.” What a trooper!

Then there is mahjong. We got a 96-year-old an iPad and one of my special memories I have made from this is playing mahjong on a computer with three generations while mother continues to win and we all watch in amazement. What an incredible woman my mother, Estelle Karp, is!

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