Staying in Touch with Loved Ones While Separated

Staying in touch with my grandparents

It seems like everyone in the world is quickly realizing that we not only need each other to survive, but we also want truly want to be with the ones we love during what is a collectively traumatic experience. Of course, there are many layers as to how we should deal with mass separation, anxiety about the unknown, dread when watching/reading the news, etc., but I think longing for loved ones dominates everything else. I never thought I was anything other than a strict introvert, but not being able to physically be with my family (other than mom and dad, who I’m so thankful for!) and friends has been distressing and taxing on my mental health. Thankfully we live in a time of modern technology, so it’s not impossible to talk to the people I miss, although it’s not the same as being together in person. Staying in touch with my loved ones has been my main priority during quarantine time, so I’ve tried to think a little outside the box.

Lo, Jonathan, and I also text all day long every single day (our routine for the past three years) and Yonny introduced Lo and me to Marco Polo, an app that makes staying in touch extremely easy and fun! It’s basically a way to send video messages to a person or group of people instead of relying only on texts. Marco Polo is great because it’s like we get the same effect as FaceTime if we don’t have the time to video chat. When we do want to talk for long periods of time though, FaceTime is our app of choice. I’m really thankful that we have these resources so it feels like we’re all still living 10 minutes away from each other in Waco (they are, obviously). Conor texts me and Parker almost every day and we talk for hours, which has kept me as sane as possible. One of the activities I miss most while being in quarantine is going out on the weekends with the boys where we always follow the same schedule: eat dinner, drink heavily, go to a karaoke bar, and regret our decisions back at Conor’s apartment. Even though it’s not being apart, talking basically every day still brings me as much joy as our friendship outings.

The quarantine period has been hardest on my grandparents so far, as we confined them to their portion of our house (we live above them!) since the US outbreak began, and I haven’t physically seen them since then (besides the rare occasions where we talk through their kitchen window). It’s already probably boring enough for them to not have internet access before the coronavirus, but now that they’re not allowed to leave the house at all, they’re getting a bit antsy. Staying in touch often with my grandparents has been my main goal, so I decided to do a sisterhood of the traveling pants style notebook that we use to write short recaps of our days back and forth to each other. I started off by taking one of my dad’s giant notebooks and wrote a long paragraph about why I want them to stay inside, how much I miss them, and what I did that day, only requesting that they write back once a day and leave the book at the bottom of my stairs. We’ve been corresponding via notebook exchange for the past week and a half and I think that makes staying in touch therapeutic for all three of us! Of course I could just call them on a regular basis, but it’s also nice to have a tangible way of talking to each other, which will also be an incredible keepsake once everything starts to calm down. Times are really tough and I’m constantly scared and anxious, but I’m thankful that the people I love are literally one text, phone call, or letter away!