My parents did something risky this week. They drove from their condo in South Carolina back to their primary residence in Western New York. They are both in their early 80’s. I have to be honest and say that I truly do not understand this decision.
For weeks now, my sister and I saw it coming. The dropped hints during our phone calls. The complaints that they are bored. The invented excuses to get back to their life in the North. We warned them. We told them to stay put, that it wasn’t smart to travel. I specifically told them that travel would greatly increase their chance of contracting this virus.
My dad cannot drive 15 hours continuously to reach their destination without stopping. It’s unreasonable for anyone to do that let alone a man in his 80’s. However, stopping entails touching gas pumps, hotel desks, elevators, breakfast nooks, pens, light switches, and doorknobs. These are all things that might be contaminated with the COVID-19 virus. I told them all this.
Then, there is the rate of infection and spreading of cases to consider. They went from a county with few cases to a county with many times more, a county that is still doubling the number of infected people every five days! I am sure they do not have masks – the now recommended accessory to venture out in public.
Still, they made the choice to drive “home.”
Will they now quarantine for 14 days? I do not know. I have told them that this is the expectation. Will their neighbors grocery shop for them? I do not know. Will they have groceries delivered? I do not know. Will they become sick? I do not know. Will my mom stay home, while my dad goes out? I do not know.
Both my sister and I are concerned. Our parents, whom we both love and feel that they raised us well, are concerning us. Their decisions are selfish, rash, and risky. Both my sister and I have seniors in high school. While we are both working to have our teens understand the complexities of an invisible enemy at a time in their life when they feel invincible, our parents are the ones taking the risk.
I am saddened and concerned by this turn of events. This virus is affecting all of us – ALL of US – around the world. We are all bored, out of routine, and coping with emotions brought about by fear, cabin-fever, and social distancing. My sleep is being disturbed by worry. I know this is not unusual for me or for others at this time of uncertainty.
But, to knowingly do something so possibly detrimental to yourselves or others, I just do not understand. They reached their home safely yesterday. Now, only time will tell how well their trip went. For now, I just do not know.