Ask Amy: Distanced family visit causes heartache
Dear Amy: My wife and I recently visited our cross-border family for the first time since COVID struck. We insisted on no vaccine protocols for my wife’s family, even though the unvaccinated children are all in school.
We only applied a protocol to my mother, who is unvaccinated, but also extremely insular (she is the guardian to three disabled children, and seldom leaves the house or receives anyone).
We said we would not meet with her indoors because of her vaccination status. We would see her only in the yard.
I told my wife that it hurt me that we would do this, and she expressed regret that it hurt me, but would not reconsider her choice.
I even showed her that the unvaccinated children on her side of the family likely presented much higher risk to us.
She was unmoved.
Now the visit is over but I'm swimming in a fog of guilt and depression about it. I've tried to tell her that this hurt me badly, and she doesn't seem to care.
She reminds me that she bent "the rules" to see my mother at all, even though my wife also rides public transit daily, presumably with a number of unvaccinated people at any given moment.
Is vaccination status so sacrosanct for adults that family must be treated this way? Am I right to keep feeling hurt? Am I right to be alarmed that my hurt is worth so little to this woman?
Dear Pro-Vax: You let your wife prohibit you from being in close proximity to your mother. Yes, it seems that she is making the rules for both of you, but altering those rules when it suits her.
Even though you frame your wife’s no-contact rule as intending to protect the two of you (mainly her), close contact with your unvaccinated mother and the people in her care – as well as her unvaccinated family members — could possibly place them at risk.
The CDC states that in July, “new data began to emerge that the Delta variant was more infectious and was leading to increased transmissibility when compared with other variants, even in some vaccinated individuals.”
“Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people. In two different studies from Canada and Scotland, patients infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with Alpha or the original virus that causes COVID-19. Even so, the vast majority of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people.”
This information is frequently updated; always check CDC.gov (search for “Delta variant”) for the latest recommendations.
This does not speak to your wife’s treatment of you, which has hurt you. I agree that her lack of compassion is alarming, but I hope you understand that, for now, you likely did the right thing for your mother and those in her care by maintaining distance.
Dear Amy: I have a problem that really bothers me.
I had a twin sister who died last year during the pandemic. We were very close.
My problem is that she was in a nursing home and, of course, she couldn't have visitors.
She died when she was alone, and that hurts me so much.
I realize other people have lost a loved one, but how do I get past this loss?
Dear Grieving: I’m so sorry for what you (and so many others) are going through. The prospect of not being able to physically be with a loved one at the end of their life is absolutely heartbreaking. And to lose your twin – I can only imagine the impact of this loss.
The way to get through grief is – one day at a time. Fellowship and friendship help. Talking, crying, or sitting silently with people who know how to listen before leaping in will help.
In my family, we have a saying: “We abide.” I hope you find people who will abide with you. A good place to start is to contact your local hospice center. Ask about grief groups. Force yourself to attend a meeting (virtually, if necessary), and let other people guide you through.
Dear Amy: You advised “BFF in the West” to hire her best friend as her real estate agent!
Absolutely not. Never engage with friends in an enterprise where the stakes are so high.
– Been There
Dear Been There: The success of this would depend on all parties’ temperaments and professionalism.
I agree that there is risk involved.
©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.