My parent is an essential worker


Kenna Howorth

Oliver with his mom, who is at work now.

Oliver Howorth, Staff Reporter

My mother is an essential worker as a healthcare administrator during this quarantine.

She works for VNA Health Care which is based in Aurora and has sixteen locations. This is a nonprofit health system that provides health care services for people with little or no insurance and cares for 75,000 patients a year. Her title is Vice President of Philanthropy and Communications, meaning that she primarily writes grants to help people with affordable, quality health care and is responsible for all patient and community communications.

Since she is an essential worker, our relationship and daily life has changed a lot since we’ve been on quarantine. I’ve always been considered a momma’s boy by friends and family so our bond has always been strong. Before the coronavirus outbreaks, my mom would get up at 6 am, get ready, and commuted 50 minutes to Aurora and arrived by 8 am. She typically got home at around 7 pm and sometimes still had to work after that to meet important deadlines. Sometimes, she would work from home on the weekends but infrequently during the week.

Now, she mostly works between home and the clinics and is constantly glued to her laptop or on a video conference. Arguably, the new structure of her work life is more stressful since there are limited boundaries between her work and home life. She sometimes has to go into the clinics to do her work as she is part of the executive team managing clinic operations and she is still writing grants to cover all of the care.

Before quarantine, we would do things regularly, whether it was cooking together or going on walks. We would hangout pretty frequently. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, our relationship has certainly changed. She works a lot more than she did before, which makes it pretty hard to find time to hangout with her. And if we do have time, it’s usually cut short. Whether she’s at home or physically at work, the majority of the time she’s doing her work. Since the quarantine, it’s been pretty difficult to maintain the relationship that we had before, considering we barely get to spend time together but I’m hoping that in the near future, we can go back to the way things were before the pandemic.

I wish that people who don’t have parents as essential workers would understand that their actions breaking social distancing affects families like mine and our relationships.  My mother is working at clinics that are COVID-19 testing sites and is obviously at increased risk as she is constantly surrounded by people who are sick, even though she wears a mask etc. I also hope that they’d understand that our parents won’t be here forever and that this might be a good time to build an even better relationship with them if they are at home with you.