Like many senior citizens, Evelyn Shaw has spent the past year staying safe inside her Bronx, New York, apartment.
Before the pandemic, she was extremely close to her family and spent a lot of time with them. Her daughter, Laura Shaw Frank, said they had regular family dinners, and her mother was never happier than when she was surrounded by her seven grandchildren.
“It was very hard knowing that she was all alone in her apartment, day in and day out, never seeing anyone, never hugging anyone, never touching anyone,” said Evelyn’s oldest grandchild, Ateret Shaw.
Now, with vaccines rolling out across the world, some restrictions are finally being lifted. Evelyn was elated to get both doses of the vaccine, but even after the two-week waiting period was over, she still felt too scared to venture out of her home. After Ateret was also fully vaccinated, she asked her grandmother if she could visit, but Evelyn said no.
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“When I wrote on my calendar, ‘Free at last. Free at last,’ I didn’t feel free,” Evelyn said.
Neither Laura, who has had one dose so far, nor Ateret could convince Evelyn that it was safe to visit again. Finally, Ateret realized that what her grandmother needed was official permission to get physically close to people. So she visited their family doctor and explained the situation.
“I said, ‘She’s never going to hug me. She’s too nervous. She’s never going to hug me.’ And she says, ‘Well, I am going to write her a prescription that says that she can hug you.’ And I said, ‘Literally, that might be the only thing that makes her do it,'” Ataret explained.
“You are allowed to hug your granddaughter,” the official prescription said. Armed with this important note, Ateret and Laura showed up on Evelyn’s doorstep with a gift.
“My granddaughter had completed her COVID protocol but I was not going to let her in… even though I had completed my vaccines,” Evelyn explained. “I was stuck in COVID land.”
When Evelyn saw the prescription, it was as if a flip switched in her brain. “Having this prescription from my doctor gave me the courage to let her in,” she said.
Her other daughter, Jessica Shaw, shared a video of the powerful reunion.
“First hug she’s had in a year. Thank you to all the scientists and doctors who made this happen!” she tweeted.
For Evelyn, the hug was “blissful” and something she’ll never forget. “We were standing in my apartment, just hugging and hugging and crying and crying for the first time in a year, which was an out-of-body experience,” she said.
Thanks to her granddaughter’s “permission slip,” Evelyn is now ready to move forward with her life. She can’t wait until the rest of her family is vaccinated so she can enjoy many, many more hugs in the future!
Love really is the best medicine! See the emotional moment in the video below, and don’t forget to share this story to make someone smile.
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