After being married for 53 years, Ed and Linda Worley have seen a lot of Mother’s Days together.
This year will be different as the couple self-isolate in a senior living facility.
As a former member of the Navy, Ed said he was deployed a lot of the time his children were growing up. But he always made it home for their births and in the meantime, Linda, a former nurse, stepped up to provide a loving and supportive home for their family.
“My wife took care of everything for the children,” Ed, 74, wrote in an email. “She took them to boy scouts, girl scouts…She has been a true wife. She loves me as I love her.”
Typically the Worleys and their three children would go out for a special dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day, but this year Ed and Linda, 72, are finding new ways to celebrate at Edgeworth Park, an assisted living and memory care facility in Williamsburg.
Ed, along with a group of husbands in the facility, are cutting roses from the garden to give their wives so they feel special on the holiday.
“I wanted to do something special and meaningful this year,” Ed said. “Each year, these occasions just keep getting better. This year, I chose the rose bush in the courtyard because we actually planted this together when it was small…We have watched it grow together. I think it will be special to give her roses off of it now.”
Edgeworth has also created a variety of other activities for mothers to celebrate, such as week-long glamour photoshoots where mothers could get their nails and hair done for photos sent home to families, said Victoria Bowen, sales and marketing director for Edgeworth Park at New Town.
While the facility hasn’t had any cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Edgworth still isn’t allowing guests into the building. Instead, to celebrate Mother’s Day, Bowen said they are setting up a place in the facility’s living room where families can stand outside and see their mothers through the window while talking on the phone.
“I think that right now it’s difficult for everyone not to be able to see their loved ones, but we’re trying really hard to make sure people are staying in contact with their family members everyday,” Bowen said.
Ed said he and Linda are planning to FaceTime their children and grandchildren since they can’t spend time together.
“We always make the most of our time together,” he said. “I am so happy we are both safe and healthy here and are still able to enjoy the day together.”
Mother’s Day on the frontline
As the coronavirus continues to affect normal traditions, some mothers on the Peninsula may be spending the day differently this year.
Mothers working in essential jobs at hospitals, long term care facilities and other industries, might have to work on their special day instead of getting the day off to spend with their families.
For Laura Weiss, a registered nurse and the director for critical care at Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News, having the day off would be a much-needed relief.
“I pray that I have it off,” she said. “We’re quite busy here so I’m hoping to spend the day at home.”
Weiss has five children between the ages of 4 and 12, four girls and the youngest, a boy. Her husband also works on the frontlines as a cardiac anesthesiologist and his full-time schedule resumes next week.
Mother’s Day just so happens to be her daughter’s 10th birthday and Weiss won’t know if she’s off until the night before or the day of.
She works six days a week starting at 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. sometimes later and lately, the ICU unit has seen an increase in patients, she said.
“We have actually ramped up,” Weiss said. “We’re very busy right now, just a lot of critical patients…we’re tired but we’re staying in the game.”
She considers herself blessed. The preschool her kids attend is open for essential workers, the two youngest are at daycare and her other children are at home by themselves.
But finding a balance between work life and family life can prove challenging, from making dinner and trying to keep her kids on track with their schoolwork to setting time aside for herself to exercise and decompress.
“The whole home-schooling thing is really just demanding,” Weiss said. “It’s a very difficult time for a mother.”
Other nurses on her staff are mothers, too.
“I think the biggest challenge right now is not having visitors present,” she said. “It’s knowing that their family can’t be there to hold their hand.”
“So I’ve been a nurse 18 years and I would say this is the most stressful period I have ever been in my nursing career,” she added.
But Weiss said this is the work she and her staff signed up for.
“We’re here to take care of patients, this is what we love to do,” she said. “We’re getting through it together.”
“Thankfully I have a lot of male nurses too and they are stepping up to work Mother’s Day.”