But amid the clinking of silverware and the soothing sound of jazz, the losses of the past year could be felt at each table where someone was missing.
Good Shepherd shut down in March, even before the virus had been found in West Virginia. Residents went without visits with loved ones, outings to the movies, even fresh air.
“I felt really lost,” said Joseph Wilhelm, 89, a retired priest who said he had found it difficult to concentrate on prayer.
Twice, the nursing home tried loosening restrictions, only to shut down again.
Sally Joseph, 85, grew tearful as she told of being separated from her children and grandchildren. At Christmas, she looked out the window and waved at her grandson, who visited in the parking lot. “This is the hardest thing,” she said. “But then when I get weepy and feeling sorry for myself, I think, ‘Everybody in the world is having the same problem as I am.’”
“I’m too excited to eat,” said Betty Lou Leech, 97, sitting at her favorite table again after receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
Good Shepherd Nursing Home, where vaccinations have finished, offers a glimpse at what life after the pandemic may look like. https://t.co/PgACK8TwbL
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 16, 2021