Meredith Yates’ mom, Judy Mark, lived in Austin for 40 years, but the sudden death of her husband prompted the family to move her closer to her daughter and grandchildren in Dallas. After she fell and other health issues popped up, they moved her into CC Young Senior Living in February. A month later, the pandemic forced CC Young to close its door to visitors and strictly quarantine residents to keep them safe.
The Yates family has stayed in constant communication with “Gigi” and her caregivers by phone, receiving frequent updates and reassurances that she’s safe. It’s pained them, though, to know Gigi wants little more than to see them all in person.
Last week CC Young invited families back onto their campus for “window visits,” allowing relatives to see their loved ones through glass on the center’s first floor. Visitors were scheduled to allow for social distancing and screened to assure they hadn’t been exposed to the virus.
“Just seeing her and being able to talk to her made me feel a whole lot better,” said 13-year-old Peyton. “It was different from times we had talked on the phone, because we could see her face and have interactions. We still couldn’t hug though. That was hard.”
Grandson Nolan acknowledged going through a bit of a rigmarole, submitting to temperature checks and donning masks just to visit his grandmother through the window, but he said he didn’t mind. He was happy to do it to keep his grandmother safe.
“I get it, it’s because of their immune systems,” said the mature 9-year-old. “But I really wanted to see her. It’s been half a year. It makes me sad not to visit her often.”
The children brought word puzzle books for their grandmother and a giant sunflower, since they recalled how much their grandfather loved them.
“I think things are getting better,” Meredith assured her mom. “I think we’ll be able to visit inside soon.”
The kids asked after Mark’s CC Young neighbors and shared details of their days at school. Amazingly, wearing masks in class and using plexiglass shields to separate them from classmates appeared low on their list of concerns. Instead they told typical – even mundane – stories about teachers and friends.
“It’s a totally different world,” Meredith told her mom.
Even Meredith’s stories centered on the ordinary aspects of life, continuing during the pandemic.
“Frogs got into the pool, Mom, but we got a frog log,” said Meredith. “It’s a ramp to help the frogs get out safely. It really works.” She also shared photos of Tilly, the family dog.
Mallory, 10, showed her newest ballet and tap moves through the glass, to rave reviews by Gigi.
“I’m glad she got to see us,” Mallory said. “It was fun, and I think it brings her joy.”
When it was time to go, there were air kisses and “I love yous” all around. The Yates family promised they’d be back for the next round of window visits, if “real” visits don’t come first.
CC Young is at 4847 W. Lawther near White Rock Lake.
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