Today was our first-time seeing Jessica after 54 days–I was not sure how this was going to play out. Jess enjoys facetiming with us, but I was concerned that she would not understand why we were unable to touch her even though we were visibly in front of her. My husband, Mitch, insisted that we needed to visually look at Jess and he wanted Jess to know that we are here, not just on her iPad or iPhone.
I desperately wanted to see Jess but was concerned that it may frustrate her more than comfort. Would Jess understand that we were unable to give a hug or hold her hand? Were we doing more harm than good? It was a risk we needed to take because there is no telling when we will be able to embrace Jessica without fear of unknowingly spreading Covid-19. Jess is vulnerable as are her housemates.
We drove up her driveway and saw Jess and her companions waiting on the porch. Three dedicated staff members were also waiting to say hello for the first time since February 26th.
Mitch and I got out of the car and walked on the grass while Jess remained on her porch. We were a solid 20 feet away, but we were there in person. Visually seeing each other face to face!
Jessica’s reaction was one we were hoping for; she clapped her hands and screamed with glee. Jess did not try to move her chair, nor did she seem frustrated by the proximity. She was thrilled to see us, which gave all of us a lift during this dark time.
Mitch and I hummed a few tunes and Jess replied with the second verse: our special communication. We brought our therapy dog Daniel who also sang a few tunes and made the ladies and staff smile and laugh.
Jessica’s group home is administered by People Incorporated (https://www.people-inc.org/). The organization has risen to the task during the Pandemic. More importantly, or as importantly, the manager of Jessica’s house, Kelly, has ensured that Jessica and her housemates are as safe as possible. The devoted staff have overwhelmed us with their commitment, love, and dedication to keep our daughters as protected as possible. Mitch and I know that Jess is just one exposure away from devastation and we are forever grateful for the care she is receiving and continue to pray, wish, and hope that this continues.
We have all lost a lot of control of our day-to-day “normal” lives during the Pandemic. Slowly we are trying to regain our footing and although things may be different that does not mean we will be worse off. I hope the lessons learned from this scary and unprecedented experience will lead us to a better tomorrow. I look forward to holding Jessica’s hands, receiving huge hugs and I will even tolerate Jess playfully pulling my messy, out of control hair!
Thank you, Kelly, Tony, Areyania, Michelle, Christian, Caira and Amara – you are making a difference every single day as an essential frontline worker to our daughter and her housemates.
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