Finally seeing grandparents


Photo by Debby Nadaner

Lena and Isaac Nadaner appreciated the time spent with their grandfather before the pandemic, such as when he was able to attend Isaac’s graduation in Feb. 2020.

Lena Nadaner, Reporter

Last Passover, my family sat around the seder table with my grandfather on FaceTime. This Passover, I hugged my grandfather. 

Once quarantine started, the world was trying to adapt, and so was my relationship with my grandfathers. Aside from a few video chats and phone calls, I did not speak to them often in quarantine, straining my relationships with them. 

Over the summer, I walked with my grandfather from Baltimore outside with a mask. As it was hard to keep the mask on in the heat, my grandfather often took it off, worrying me. It was challenging to find out that our annual beach trip hosted by my grandfather would be canceled.

After that, the weather grew colder, and with the proliferation of COVID-19 cases in the fall, it was more difficult to see him. One of the most difficult parts of that time was not spending Thanksgiving, my family’s most cherished time together, with my grandfather and extended family.

My other grandfather who is from New York struggled a lot in quarantine. He was living by himself in a city that “never sleeps,” only it was asleep. He was technologically challenged with Zoom, with no one to help him, so that was not an option of communication with him. I spent my time in quarantine binge-watching shows, but that was of zero interest to him, leaving him bored and lonely. 

By the end of February, my grandfather was fully vaccinated and was excited to come down and visit my family. After a couple of months of debate on how safe it would be for him to take a train from New York to Washington, D.C. and stay in my house, he came. He walked through the doors of Union Station with bright eyes (mask on) at the sight of his son and granddaughter for the first time in a year. 

Spending the following days catching up with him felt like a glimpse of normalcy. I did not feel as nervous as I had with my other grandfather in the past when he was not vaccinated, considering members of my family go to work in-person, and I go to school, giving us higher chances of exposure than desired. 

I felt relieved and hopeful seeing my grandfather. He was happy the whole time we were together, which made me happy and the time together special. Our relationship picked up where it left off since I was used to having distances between my visits with him. 

My grandfather grew up isolated as a Jew during the Holocaust, fighting for life alone. In his many years of life, through war and hunger, my grandfather has not spent a single night in a hospital, and finding a way to safely visit my family did not ruin that streak.