Local News

Mother's Day Behind Glass

(CHESTERTON, IN) – Flowers and other expressions of love were not in short supply on Mother’s Day at a senior living facility in Chesterton despite the separation of a lockdown from COVID-19.

            Despite the unusual, if not, painful circumstances the chance to visit through windows and other extreme forms of social distancing seemed appreciated at The Residences at Coffee Creek at 2300 Village Point off Indiana 49.

            “Never had a Mother’s Day that we visit through glass but it’s the way of the world right now so that’s what we’re dealing with,” said Tom Shapen of Valparaiso.

            He and his wife, Sue, and their son, Adam, visited his 91-year old mother, Juanita, and his 95-year old father, George.

            Juanita has been there for over a year while George just recently moved in to be with her while the facility is under lockdown because of the virus.

            Loved ones were kept in the vestibule and residents in the lobby behind the closed glass doors. 

            Others when the rain stopped were outside visiting through closed windows at the rooms of residents.

            Bill Dorulla of Valparaiso was there with a half dozen family members chatting with his 90-year old mother, Mary, who was given a phone to communicate because of the glass being thick.

            Mary seemed to light up when shown the dozen yellow roses they brought her and “Daisy,” the family’s two-year old Dachshund.

             Dorulla described the experience as “different” and “surreal” but necessary to keep everyone inside safe.

            “Hopefully, it’s something that’s going to pass. I don’t know how soon it’s going to happen but, hopefully, soon,” he said.

            Helen Ward of Chesterton along with her husband, J.D., and their daughter, Angela, stood outside the room of her 75-year old mother, Audrey Arnold.

            Audrey smiled a lot and returned their expressions of love that included blowing of kisses.

            “It’s heart wrenching that you can’t give her hugs.  I’m a hugger but I know she’s safe and that’s all that matters.  I can’t wait for this to be over,” Mrs. Ward said. 

            Gregg and Danielle Hertzlieb of LaPorte were on the ground communicating with his mother, Sharyn Rankin, looking down from the third-floor balcony of her room.

            They waved at each other a lot and spoke at raised volumes to be able to hear each other.

            Hertzlieb said he’d rather be giving his 75-year old mother hugs but appreciated the opportunity to connect her even at a distance.

            They’ve also been staying in regular contact through Facetime and on the phone since the facility has been under lockdown.

            “It’s hard.  It’s difficult but we’re getting through it,” he said.

            Normally, residents can invite guests to join them for a Mother’s Day brunch.

            The brunch still went on but it was for residents only due to the COVID-19 visitation restrictions.

            Family members were encouraged to send moms a special message online to be printed and given to them later.

            All the messages were shown to residents later in a video collage.

            “Even though this year it looks a little different for Mother’s Day we still want to make it special for our residents,” said Kaitlynn Redmon, executive director of The Residences at Coffee Creek.

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