Mother’s Day came and went for Meadow Lake’s Terry Alkestrup without any visits paid or gifts exchanged on that special day.

In fact, Alkestrup – whose mother, Shirley Baldinus, and mother-in-law, Delia Alkestrup, are both residents at the L. Gervais Memorial Health Centre in Goodsoil – didn’t even call either this past Sunday (May 10) and it’s all because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I didn’t call my mother-in-law because she is somewhat deaf and can’t hear people when they speak to her on the phone, while my mother has dementia and doesn’t really understand what is going on all the time, and would only ask me when I am going to come see her,” Alkestrup explained.

She went on to say she and her husband, Neil, also refuse to visit either lady during the pandemic because they want to ensure their safety when it comes to the coronavirus.

“People are not allowed inside the building, but can visit from outside, speaking to residents through a screened window,” Alkestrup said. “However, my mother-in-law is 90 years old and I don’t want to visit her, or my own mom for that matter, if there’s a chance I have contracted COVID-19 and pass it on to them. Some people could have COVID-19 and not show symptoms, but still pass it on to others.”

Alkestrup summed up the entire situation in one word – sad.

“We couldn’t even see my mother-in-law when she turned 90 April 14,” she continued. “It’s terrible to have to miss her birthday, while neither could come home for Easter this year. My mom always comes home for Easter and was a little upset when told she couldn’t this year. She doesn’t really understand what is going on, but I tried to talk her through it and to explain how important she is to us and we don’t want her to get sick. It’s been a tough situation.”

Alkestrup also said she is hopeful things will begin to clear up as far as COVID-19 is concerned and, before too long, she can be reunited with her mother and mother-in-law once again.

“Even if it gets to the point where we feel comfortable to visit through the window in the next month or so, that would be a big step forward,” she noted. “Right before COVID-19 hit, a regular influenza bug went through (the centre), so we haven’t had a chance to see either of them since the end of February. It’s been way too long already.”

Meanwhile, Mother’s Day traditions did get the go-ahead by chief and council at Canoe Lake Cree First Nation. In a letter to band members dated May 8, chief Francis Iron said his community has been very fortunate when it comes to people understanding and following the rules of the lockdown and helping to making the community a safe place.

“With Mother’s Day weekend coming upon us, the tradition has been for people to stay at their cabins and to go to Broad Creek for sucker fishing,” Iron wrote. “We are opening the security checkpoint so this most enjoyed tradition continues.”

Extra precautions were taken, however, to monitor traffic in and out of the reserve.

by Phil Ambroziak