For the past year, 80-year-old Evelyn Shaw has been alone. As a widow living in an apartment in New York, she was unable to be with her family throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It’s unfortunately a familiar story, though hers has a heartwarming development that’s gone viral. This week, the grandmother got a prescription to hug her granddaughter and their emotional reunion serves as a perfect example of just how very much we all need each other right now.
Jessica Shaw, host of EW Live on Sirius XM, tells Romper that her mom Evelyn has “been having a hard time” while in quarantine in New York. “I have my partner and my kids in my bubble, but my mom is a widow,” she says. “She was alone.”
To see her mother safely over the past year, Jessica would go to her apartment and visit outside the window, but it was difficult. “It’s just not the same as physical contact,” she says. “My mom was living with a constant loop in her head of terror all the time, and she was alone. It was terrible for her.”
Until last week. On March 9, Jessica shared on Twitter that her mom received a prescription from her doctor two weeks after receiving her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that said, “You are allowed to hug your granddaughter.”
Jessica tells Romper that, while her own two children still can’t hug their grandmother, her niece is a schoolteacher who has also received two doses of the vaccine. And so, Evelyn did just what the doctor ordered. Wrapped her granddaughter in her arms and hugged away. For the first time in a year.
In a video Jessica shared on Twitter of the moment, Evelyn hugs her granddaughter for the first time in a year. And sobs. “First hug she’s had in a year. Thank you to all the scientists and doctors who made this happen!” Jessica captioned the video.
The importance of Evelyn’s doctor taking the time to understand, as Jessica explains, “not just what medicine her patient needs but also what this vaccine means to her mental health after a year alone,” is truly beautiful. It also gives a whole new meaning to holistic medicine, as Jessica’s sister Dr. Laura Shaw Frank wrote on Twitter. “THIS is holistic medical care,” she tweeted. “Our mom's doctor (also mine and my daughter's doctor) knows that our mom is very nervous to return to the world even after vax x2 + 2 weeks. She figured out how to ease her path. Medical care from the heart.”
Now that both Evelyn and her granddaughter are fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in a new guidance that they can be in the same room without masks. And hug. And hopefully hug some more. It’s what the doctor ordered, after all.