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I miss my mom, Becky. I live in California and she lives in Ohio. We usually see each other twice a year, for at least two weeks each visit. It is always like being at summer camp when I’m at my mom’s house.
She is wonderful, funny, wise, smart, loving and generous. She lets us decorate her house with light-up balloons in the winter, and she joins us for water balloon fights in the summer. We have themed dinners, dance parties, and movie nights with lots of snacks.
When I’m with my mom, we laugh so much. She can make anything into a fun adventure — even going to the dollar store! Once we hid positive notes all around the store for customers to find, in hopes it would make them smile.
I’m so grateful that in January 2020 I spent a month with my mom. During that time, we took ukulele lessons together. Even though we didn’t get very far, it was fun! Little did I know that I wouldn’t get to see her again for a long time. Thankfully, we sent her an iPad and she learned to use it, so we can connect through video calls.
— Sherry Richert Belul, 56, San Francisco
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I miss my brother-in-law Richard. We didn’t get to see each other that often, as my family lives in Connecticut and he was in England. Sadly, Richard died by suicide just a few days into lockdown. We believe he felt unable to cope with isolation — he was a very social person and not used to spending time alone. It’s hard knowing even after the pandemic is over we will never get to spend time together again.
We were particularly close. When I would visit England, we would always find time to escape to the nearby pub together to catch up on life. His infectious laugh and bubbly personality were captivating. He was full of life, fun and laughter. This is how I will remember him.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we were unable to travel to his funeral. In the future we will travel back to England and hold a memorial service. It will not be the same without a visit to the pub — Richard with his pint and me with a glass of wine.
— Rachel Baer, 56, East Lyme, Connecticut
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I miss my musician friends. These are very good friends, some that I’ve known for decades. A few years back, I formed a contemporary classical ensemble with them.
I haven’t been able to see them in a year. We can’t sit in a little room and rehearse; that would not be safe. Also, there is nothing for us to do. Musicians are dead in the water in terms of performing. Our last idea for a performance was to have a house concert where you find somebody’s living room and invite 20 to 30 people. Once COVID hit, we realized, What’s the point? It’s a big loss. I don’t really know if we will get back together in the foreseeable future or ever, really. COVID’s impact on the music world — that’s particularly devastating.
— Lewis Richmond, 73, Sonoma, California
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I miss my mom and sister most during COVID. They both live in Louisiana, where I was born and raised. I now live in Houston.
I last saw my mom in July 2019 for her 70th birthday. I didn’t have a chance to see her prior to the start of the pandemic because my husband had a stroke in November of that year. He was still in physical, occupational and speech therapy when COVID hit in March. We’ve been extra precautious. We haven’t even brought in takeout food to our home, much less traveled or dined out, for a year now. I can’t wait until we are all vaccinated so that I can safely travel to see them.
— Dawn F. Landry, 50, Houston, Texas
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I miss my mother and my best friend. The both passed before the pandemic. My mother lived with us the last three years of her life and died in 2016. When the pandemic first started I felt like it was a good thing she was not here because she was 91 when she died and clearly would have been at risk. But as the pandemic wore on, I realized that we would have enjoyed the time together. I would have had the time to ask her things that I never got to ask her when she was alive. I would have gotten to know her in a different way.
As for my best friend, Nancy, we had known each other for almost 40 years. She was just somebody that you could get on the phone with and laugh, or we’d watch TV shows together. I just miss the chance to talk to her about COVID and quarantine and politics. She was into pop culture and would educate me. She would have thrived in the craziness of 2020.
To have to navigate the pandemic wthout them has been hard. I feel like there was a richness in our relationships that would have been an upside to the pandemic. I missed out on that.
— Renee Wilder Guerin, 55, Washington, D.C.
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I missed my son Devon. I had not seen him in about three months because he began working in the kitchen of a hotel. To protect my health, he decided to stop visiting. We actually reunited today.
We are very close. His mom (my wife) died when he was 16, so it’s just been us. He is all the family I have, and I really relied on his fellowship when the pandemic hit. He has learning differences, and there was a time in his youth when my wife and I questioned if he would ever be able to live on his own. But today he has a job, moved out, and is married. He has had to overcome a lot of challenges. So we’re very very proud of how far he’s come.
The pandemic has made me reflect on how many families, mine included, so often take each other for granted. My son and I normally talk three to five times per week. We share what’s going on and at the end we always pray for each other. That’s something we’ve always done, pre-pandemic and even when his mom was alive. So I’ve really focused on cherishing this time and not taking each other for granted.
— Jon Yoshimine, 66, Half Moon Bay, California
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I miss my traveling buddies most of all. Each year we select a place to travel overseas. We have been to France, Italy several times, and Spain. For the past 10 years we have attended the Kentucky Derby. Last year was the first year we couldn’t go to the Derby, but we hope to go this year. I miss the friendship, sharing stories, celebrating special occasions while on our trips, laughing, taking memorable photos and just getting away with the girls. We are all over 50 and look forward to traveling together.
— Gerry Tucker, 73, Austin, Texas
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I miss my family on the East Coast. My sister and my son, along with their families, live out there. The last time I saw them in person was January of 2020, when we got together for my sister’s birthday.
Although I miss them dearly, what I will say is that the pandemic has kept us closer in touch with one another. Before COVID-19 we did not call each other as often. Now my sister has organized weekly Zoom meetings on Sundays for whoever is available to gather and check in. I get to see how everyone’s doing and see her kids. I’ve gotten very clever with Zoom. With my son, we check in on FaceTime every now and then. I am planning to reunite with him and his family in April, when their third baby is due.
—Cheryl Pendleton, 76, San Francisco
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I miss my friends and the kids I helped through my nonprofit in South Africa. What started with a service trip in 2009 grew into a partnership with several organizations in South Africa that are doing amazing things to alleviate poverty. I normally spend two months each year in South Africa and along the way have made many friendships. I have a whole other life there.
I last visited in January 2020, before the craziness of COVID happened. I planned to go twice last year and feel very lucky I was able to go even once. I miss all the kids in orphanages I would often visit and worry about their welfare. It feels like a void being unable to check in on everyone, especially since South Africa has been hit so hard by this pandemic. My friends and kids write to me and ask when I’m returning. I say as soon as I can!
—Christina Stanton, 51, New York City
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I miss my aunt. I normally see her several times a year. She was supposed to come see one of my sons in a play the week COVID hit. But now that we can’t see each other, the desire on both of our parts to reconnect is strong.
She would visit me here or I would visit her in New York. We would go out for lunch or dinner, or she would spend the day with the kids, or we’d go to her house in New Jersey. She was always really cool and fun. We would spend quality time together, which we just can’t do now.
The word that comes to me is symbol. She sort of typifies the generation. As we get older and we lose the older generation, each of them becomes more important. She is my one and only aunt and always has been. I’m so aware that every moment that we have to spend with the people we love has become more poignant.
— Gabrielle Hartley, 50, Northampton, Massachusetts
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I miss my mother. She passed away in 2008. She died of cancer. My mom and I were really close. We were best friends.
I could just imagine the conversations we would be having about what has happened over these last four years and everything with COVID-19. She would say this is crazy. She was the perfect foil. She had insights about life that helped me. I’d just love to be with her again. We’ve had many great adventures.
— Lee Blair, 62, Baltimore, Maryland
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I miss my daughter. She didn’t come home for Christmas this year because of COVID-19. She lives in California.
The last time I saw her was two years ago, at her wedding. I went to California for the ceremony, and we spent time together touring Los Angeles. I don’t think we’ll be able to see each other again until summer of 2021. I miss her laughter. I miss her funny jokes and sense of humor. I also just miss opportunities for us to have big gatherings as a family.
—Stephanie Phillips-Johnson, 53, Orange, New Jersey
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I miss my daughter. My wife and I moved here three months ago from Austin, Texas, to live near our daughter and her husband.
Both my wife and I look at the world as the glass is half full, but we were not prepared for this. It’s nice to talk about mental strength and positivity, but the truth is we cannot visit our daughter and her husband and it has hurt us more than you can imagine. We live in a retirement community and it’s in lockdown, so we cannot have any visitors. Not being able to touch and hug somebody physically — it means so much when you’re older and we can’t do that. It hurts us beyond belief.
—Jim Owen, 80, La Jolla (San Diego), California
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I miss my husband, Bill, who passed away two years ago. He was my shoulder to lean on, arms to encircle me and the person who would tell me everything will be all right. He was my voice of reason when my three grown daughters tried my patience.
It’s hard enough just getting through these times with a partner, but alone it’s worse. Yes, my children support me all the time, but I miss him telling me it’s going to be OK. So hug each other and keep each other safe in these trying times. Enjoy each other’s company, and look forward to getting together when things get better.
— Toni Kaucher, 61, Lombard, Illinois
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I miss my big brother John, who lives in Houston, Texas. Before the coronavirus hit, I would visit him three to four times a year and he would visit me two or three times. We’d meet up every time we could in random cities for long weekends. I haven’t seen him since New Year’s 2020. It’s now been 11 long, emotional, scared, boring and frustrating unprecedented months. This is the longest stretch of time I haven’t seen him.
My entire life he’s been there for me when I get emotional, with a shoulder to cry on. He always shares the positive, rational side of life. When we’re together we laugh so hard our stomachs hurt. We text message frequently and use FaceTime and an app called Houseparty to communicate. Nothing beats seeing someone in person, but I’m grateful for the technology we have.
— Lisa Franzblau, 54, Louisville, Kentucky
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I miss my daughters. I’ve been going to take care of my parents who are in their 80s, and my daughters are both in college and live with other students. I told them, if you come home, I have to socially distance from you. I don’t want to put my parents at risk.
Before COVID, we would all have dinner with my parents once a week. I can't wait for Sunday night dinners. It’s three generations and the love goes both ways. My parents love my daughters and my daughters love my parents. It’s a beautiful thing for me to sit and watch because I’m in the middle and I love them all.
— Alan Applebaum, 58, Cooper City, Florida
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I miss my son. He’s a bachelor and lives alone across the country. Because of the coronavirus, he’s not comfortable getting on a plane and we’re not either. It’s hard because he lives alone and works from home, so he is isolated.
We used to have very short conversations. Now we have longer phone conversation than we used to. It’s more one-on-one. We get much more detail about what his everyday life is like and his job.
— Kathy Cash, 76, Cary, North Carolina
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PHOTO BY: Marina Pierce
I teach drama in a K-12 school and I miss my students. Our school has been shut down because of COVID-19 and we are doing remote learning. I miss the laughter and questions and the nonstop physicality. I worked with last year’s graduating seniors since first grade and I had to watch their graduation virtually. Not being there for them was so hard. I never got that chance to say good-bye.
I can’t wait until I can get back into the classroom and onto the stage. Working with children keeps me alive and young.
— Dorothy Rosenthal Pierce, 54, Shoreline, Washington
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I miss my mom LaVerne Fodor, who died in April from complications of COVID-19. She was in a nursing home. The facility was shut down and didn’t allow visitors. I didn’t know how sick she was until it was too late. I’ll always wonder if there was something else I could have done. I’ll always carry that burden and sadness.
I really miss watching sports with my mom. Sports were a constant anchor in her life. The last baseball game we went to together was at Wrigley Field in 2011 and she had been to see the Chicago Cubs for a span of 75 years. She loved that place. It was so familiar to her.
— Tom Fodor, 66, Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin
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I miss my son Evan who lives in Portland, Oregon. I haven’t seen him since New Year’s Eve because of COVID-19 and I have no idea when I’ll be able to. I don’t feel comfortable flying to him and he’s not comfortable flying either.
As much as he traveled and as far as he went, he would always come home and surprise us. There’s a little part of my heart that keeps thinking he’s going to do that, but realistically I don’t think he can right now. I just want to give him a hug.
— Elise Seyfried, 63, Oreland, Pennsylvania
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I miss my daughters. Two live in New Jersey and one in South Carolina. Before COVID, we would visit one another a few times a year. I haven’t seen most of my family in close to a year.
My daughters in Jersey work in the medical field so they have to be science driven and take precautions. I can understand that and respect that they want to take care of me, but it’s very difficult. We are very physical people so with COVID there’s no more hugs and no more kisses from them and my grandkids. That’s what I miss the most.
— Jacqueline Burgess, 70, Lake Wales, Florida
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I miss my son and daughter-in-law who live in Astoria, New York. I usually visit them every six to eight weeks. They’ve already had COVID, but I have concerns about traveling. I don’t want to get on a plane. And the things I normally do when I visit them aren’t available, like have dinner with friends, go to museums or see shows.
Before the pandemic, I took them to see a play at the Public Theater in New York. I work in theaters and my son grew up being dragged to rehearsals. He’s not a fan. But I took them to see a play that I thought they would like. We enjoyed it together.
— Christine McBurney, 55, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
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I miss my father. It’s terrible. He’s 85 and mentally quite sharp. My younger son is a sophomore in high school and is exposed to more people. I want to see my father, but I don’t want to pass anything on.
We’re really wrestling with what to do for Thanksgiving. We used to have family from all over the country get together, including my dad. We’re saying we probably can’t pull that off this year. I think we will see my father, but with fewer people. At some point we do have to continue to live our lives and absorb some risks. We can’t live in a bubble. That’s not living.
— Walter Kress, 60, Wilton, Connecticut