Photo courtesy Lisa Franzblau (right) with her brother John and sister-in-law Kim.
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
Photo courtesy Alan Applebaum (back right) with wife, Dawn, his two daughters Leah (left) and Becca, and his parents Myra and Herb.
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
Photo courtesy Kathy Cash with son, Brian.
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
PHOTO BY: Marina Pierce
Dorothy Rosenthal Pierce, holding pictures of her students.
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
Photo courtesy Tom Fodor, with his mother LaVerne and his sons Ryan (left) and Chris.
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.
Photo courtesy Elise Seyfried (right) with son Evan
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
Photo courtesy Jacqueline Burgess (center rear), with daughters (from left) Fleeta, Tomeka and Kiwan.
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
Photo courtesy Christine McBurney (center) with son Ciarán and daughter-in-law Maria.
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
Photo courtesy Walter Kress (top right) with sister Lois and father Walter.
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.