The pull to help

A few weeks ago I asked people if they had any advice to share about grandparenting during the pandemic. I got lots of great replies, which you can read here: Grandparenting from a distance. One of the replies came from Kaitlyn Morse, who said her mother had decided to come out of retirement. Lora Cunningham is a nurse in her 60s. She had been doing some per diem work but thought she might be able to offer more. She is now working part-time in the cardiology and mental health units at her local hospital.

Kaitlyn considers her mother heroic but admits it’s been hard on the whole family, especially the grandchildren. I asked Kaitlyn if she thought her mother would be interested in writing about why she made her decision and the impact it has had. Here’s what her mom had to say:

Kaitlyn Morse and sons
Kaitlyn and her two sons blow kisses from their “drive-thru” visit window. 

As a nurse who was furloughed and had gone two weeks without working, I was becoming restless. I was reading too much news and scrolling (more than I’d like to admit) social media. My weeks are usually full, with per diem work and with snuggling and enjoying the lives of our four grandchildren. I’m either helping with childcare or just wanting to be with them and now I have more time to miss them. I long for the dancing, cooking, reading, trips to the park, visiting their Pop at work, or taking them to see their great grandmother.

Week three I looked for new work as I felt the pull to help in some way with skills I’m sure can be put to use. A new job was offered because my employer wanted all hands on deck. I checked in with the labor pool knowing I would be put in a new situation that may not be “my job” but we go where we must.

Usually, as healthcare workers, we often come home to family for comfort after a stressful day. In this uncertain time, we cannot always get the comfort we need as we are busy comforting those in the worst times of their lives. We can visit our four too young to understand grandchildren from their driveways blowing kisses through windows as they reach out for us to pick them up. They cry when we can’t, and as we drive away I quietly do the same from my car.

Lora Cunningham

Happy Birthday drive by
Kaitlyn’s parents driving by for her kids’ birthdays. No family party this year.

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.