‘We’d been invited to be babysitters for our first grandchild. ‘Mom I love you, but please reconsider moving the trip.’: Disappointed grandma cancels trip to visit family due to COVID-19

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“Leaving on jet plane… NOT

Around November of 2019, our eldest son informed me the maternal grandparents were going to travel to New Zealand to visit Ohana. At that, our son invited we paternal grandparents to be the substitute babysitters for our first grandchild in Oregon. ‘Of course! We’d loved to.’

Soon, we Hawaii grandparents, made plans to travel to Oregon for March 18th through 28th. Every photo, video, and electronic contact with our grandson made the upcoming trip a tease to the joy we would embrace once we landed in Portland, Oregon.

About the same time in November of 2019, word was finally getting out in the media about a coronavirus #19 from the flu strain discovered in China. Quarantines were put in place on cruise ships, and eventually there were worldwide cancellations and postponements of public events and travel through March 13th, and on. Students, athletes, business representatives, tour groups, churches, the entire general public, were thrown into what was proclaimed a pandemic. From November through March (and beyond) people have been hoarding, first and foremost, toilet paper and water. At this writing, shelves are empty.

As our March 18th departure was only five days away, communication between the Oregon-Ohana and Hawaii-Ohana began to have concern about COVID-19. I was holding out hope our March 18th travel date would play-out. Actually, bold as to feel ‘Tantaran’ (an endearing Filipino term meaning ‘nothing can touch me’ or ‘reckless abandon’). Yet the text messages communicated back and forth were full of love.

It is now the evening of Thursday, March 12th, and our son informed us our counterparts in Oregon, the maternal grandparents, had cancelled their trip to visit family in New Zealand. At first, their cancelling didn’t sting, as our son still had an open invitation for the Hawaii grandparents to come to Oregon.

The days of information on COVID-19 were getting thicker and more frequent in just one day. By Friday, March 13th, the tone of communication was of pleading not to make the trip. ‘Mom I love you, but you are missing the point. Neither of you should be traveling. There are 24 confirmed cases in Oregon. 96 pending. What happens if either of you catch it and are asymptomatic, but bring it back to others in Hawaii? Your age demographic is the highest at risk. Do you want to be responsible for your friend’s sickness, or even death? What if I already have it and give it to one of you? Do you want me to have that on my conscience? Are you prepared to take a mandatory 2 weeks from work, plus recovery time if you contract the virus? Please reconsider moving the trip.’

A similar text was received from our other son, who also resides in Oregon. The note and invitation came with a request: If you are adamant about traveling from HNL to PDX, ‘please bring a Doctor’s Note’. Still feeling tantaran, this Hawaii Grandma made an appointment to get a note from her doctor.

It is Friday the 13th, and by noon, the Hawaii grandparents decided to reschedule their trip to Oregon. All over, the world listened as the US President declared a national emergency. And by the afternoon HST, the Hawaii Grandma had heard back from her doctor. She would not receive a doctor’s note, and the doctor declared Paternal Grandma was too high risk to travel (age 65 and diabetic).

And so, the last thing to do to close the door on the March 18th through 28th trip to Oregon: unpack the luggage. (Sigh) And now it is Saturday, the laundry waits… Grammyrz is in mosey gear (sigh, again). Love and personal responsibility wins.”

Courtesy Myrna-Lyn Abang

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Myrna-Lyn Abang. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey.

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