Letter to Mother During the Pandemic of 2020
by Wilda Morris
Dear Mother, the story I most often heard of your early days
was how your toddlerhood was toppled by the flu pandemic,
how you lay in a vegetative state for weeks, had to start
learning to walk and talk all over again. I miss you so much,
but I'm glad you are not stuck in a nursing home, bored
and feeling abandoned, playing game after game
of solitaire, reading the front page of the Tribune over and over.
Forbidden daily visits from family. Forbidden to hug
or be hugged. No jigsaw puzzles, no games of Scrabble,
no worship services or guitar concerts in the common room.
No racing your electric wheelchair down the hall to find a friend
(No nurse threatening to take away your driver's license).
No meals in the dining hall with other residents,
your smiles and conversation a balm to someone's loneliness,
as you add three sugar packets to your mashed potatoes.
How often in your last years nursing assistants came to see you
after someone yelled at them, knowing you would offer a hug
and tell them you loved them. What would you think
about this time when touching others is forbidden,
no kindly tap on the shoulder, no kiss on the cheek?
Not even a squeezed hand. I'm sure you would be like a toddler,
unable to resist the temptation to reach out your arms.
Previously published by Continue the Voice.
"Letter to Mother, During the Pandemic of 2020" Continue the Voice (February 2021),