This past Sunday was the first time many people in long-term care facilities got to see their loved ones face-to-face. There are still major restrictions, with visits being limited to outdoors on the grounds of the facilities with social distancing and masks worn by all.

Our family went almost three months without seeing our mom, other than a Mother's Day visit on the lawn, three floors below her room. We could barely see each other, but at least we saw her. We called every day, and every day she cried.

She's lived 89 years in this country and couldn't imagine what was going on, but she hung in there. Finally, three weeks ago, my siblings and I pulled her out of there. It's a great place with great people, but the isolation was devastating to our mom's health and well being. She's been staying with each of us for a week or so at a time until we can figure things out. But going back there is not something she even wants to contemplate. She associates it with torture.

Things will take a lot longer to get back to normal at these facilities when socialization and regular visits and trips out can resume. Even if she could have survived in there another three weeks, Sunday's visit would have been so hard for all of us.

We couldn't imagine not being able to hug and kiss her and staying six feet apart. So she's out, with us, living life, and loving it. She laughs every day. She's with her family every day. What will be, will be. Our hearts go out to the residents and their families who are still dealing with the isolation, loneliness and pain these lockdowns have brought. Hopefully things can get back to normal for these families and the hard working, dedicated people who work at these facilities taking care of our loved ones every day.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.

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