In a time of pandemic, this is what love looks like

Many of the cars in the Trinity Glen parade had signs for their loved ones.

In a time of pandemic, this is what love looks like
May 14
04:00 2020

Families parade around Trinity Glen to lift loved ones’ spirits

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

How do you show your love when you are physically separated from family members due to a worldwide pandemic? It takes creativity and organization, as was evident when residents of Trinity Glen were treated to a parade on Friday, May 8. Over 50 vehicles, many decorated with balloons and signs, circled the facility to connect with loved ones who they have been unable to physically touch since the facility was locked down with the announcement of the stay-at-home order.

“The parade idea is that we just wanted to do something to encourage both the residents and the families,” wrote Cissy McCoy, administrator, in an email. “It has been very hard on them not seeing each other.”

Trinity Glen staff wanted to make it a special day, which began with hot dogs cooked on the grill for lunch before the parade. Staff members helped residents make signs to greet their families as they drove around the facility. 

McCoy said she had no idea the parade would grow into such a huge event. Families began lining up in the parking lot of Winston Lake YMCA at 1 p.m. and within just a few minutes, the lot was full and cars lined the street. 

Some residents wrapped in jackets and blankets were settled into prime viewing spots on the patio before the parade began; others watched out the windows of their rooms. They held their handmade signs with messages to their families that they hoped to see as they drove by. 

Promptly at 2 p.m. the cars, trucks, vans, a motorcycle and a fire truck started inching their way into the Trinity Glen driveway that runs around the facility. Family members blew horns and shouted messages of love, happy Mother’s Day, and how much they missed their loved ones. Residents didn’t seem to mind the drizzling rain as they held up their signs and answered with whoops and hollers. 

Jocelyn Johnson, a long-time supporter of Trinity Glen, and Councilmember DD Adams also joined the parade. Many staff members mentioned getting teary-eyed watching the parade and the response of the residents. McCoy said, “The outpouring of support from our families and community was so wonderful. This event was truly a blessing for residents, families and staff alike. What a touching moment it was to behold.” She added, “I am not sure who enjoyed it the most, the residents and staff watching or the participants driving and waving at all involved.”

The residents also expressed how overjoyed they were to see their family members in the parade and would point out their sons, daughters, and spouses to the staff. Mildred Painter, a resident, remarked, “Oh, look how much they care about us! I didn’t know so many people were coming!”

As Hazel Jackson was waiting for the parade to begin, she told a staff member, “I am so excited, my son is coming on his motorcycle.” Afterward she described her feelings: “I was so overjoyed, it was overwhelming, in a good way!”

Larry Stroud and Cheryl Howell, brother and sister, were part of the parade and came to see their mother, Eloise Hemby. Howell said she had not been able to be with her mother since the COVID-19 lockdown. She has been concerned about her mother because she has cognitive issues and her children’s visits are important to her. She arranges with staff to see her mother through a window and they call her cell phone so she can talk with her. “She is nonverbal, so I just listen to her garbled speech.” She said the staff has been great during this stressful time, but she misses being able to visit her mother.

“I can’t hug her or kiss her, but I can tell her I love her on the phone.”

McCoy summed up the day in an email: “It was such a positive day during a time when life has seemed a bit scary and isolated. It really uplifted the spirits of all involved. God has blessed our ministry with such love, support, and encouragement.”

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