Last month, I had an overwhelming week due to dealing with my mom’s work issues. For the past few weeks, my mom struggled whether or not to resign from her job due to COVID-19. She’s a certified nursing assistant and has been working for the same company for the past 39 years and she was just about to retire this September at the age of 65. However, her dreams of retiring when she wanted to vanished last month.
The moment that California went into “Shelter in Place” I called my mom. I called her every day. Not because I needed the reassurance of feeling safe and secured, but rather, I needed to make sure she was alive and well. She cared for senior citizens, even though she is now a “senior citizen” herself. Also, we all know that the convalescent homes and senior citizens care facilities are the most vulnerable during this pandemic. I was traumatized by the news about an outbreak at a Seattle nursing home back in early March. When reading news articles about the coronavirus at nursing homes, I would get nervous because my mom worked at a nursing home. I didn’t want my mother to contract the virus at work and possibly die from it. Knowing that she is already 64 and has underlying health issues, her chances of survival would be small.
Every week when I called my mom she would be talking about retiring due to COVID-19 more. I would just listen to her and encourage her to do what she feels right. Her mind was 50/50 about it. She wanted to retire because she was scared. She didn’t want to die right now, not when she is so close to retirement. She didn’t want to leave my sister and me behind. And I didn’t want to hear her making preparations about the “what-if” scenarios because my sister told me that she’s been telling my sister to take care of me since we will only have each other now. I hate those talks because I know it will eventually happen. Dying is inevitable, but I just don’t want it to happen now.
During the second week of April, things dramatically changed. My sister told me that the news broadcasted about someone in the facility testing positive for COVID-19. Rather than going to the hospital, they remained in the facility. My mom told me about this situation earlier where there is someone with a “shortness of breath” at her work. She didn’t sound too concerned about it but I knew deep down she was anxious. I told her to be careful. I mean that’s the only thing you can say during a time like this. Yet even though she sounded brave, my sister told me that she was constantly talking on the phone amongst her coworkers discussing the situation they were in. She didn’t want to work anymore. She felt unsafe.
After hearing the news, my sister and I wrote my mom’s resignation letter. When she went to work the next day, she was kind of hesitant about turning it in, partly due to it being sudden and that she’s worried about health insurance and money. Yet when she heard that there was another patient sick and that they are keeping them isolated, my mom instantly decided to put in her resignation letter. Despite being an essential worker, this isn’t a battle she should fight in.
My mom is getting used to not working anymore. She’s been working all her life and serving other people, including my sister and myself. Whenever there was overtime or whenever someone else needed a day off, she was willing to work even at the cost of spending time with us. My sister and I had to grow up quicker than most kids but what we learned from our mom was what hard work, patience, and dedication look like and that’s what we lived up to when it comes to our own goals in life.
Some of you may think that since she’s essential she should work since it’s her duty, but in my opinion, she worked enough in her life and so she deserves a break now. Happy Mother’s Day.
You showed me
When I was young just how to grow
You showed me
Everything that I should know
You showed me
Just how to walk without your hands
‘Cause mom you always were
The perfect fan
-The Backstreet Boys
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