I’ve been sequestered in my retirement community for a year. Liberation is in sight.

Being sequestered wasn’t surprising. But the reality jolted: not just the abrupt loss of in-person contact with family, friends and events outside, but also the diminished social interaction and daily stimulation inside.

Communal dining ended — we eat in our rooms. No more interesting speakers or Saturday movies. Meetings canceled — or, later, virtual. Days blended: Is this Monday or Friday? Living single meant one kind of loneliness; living double, another. Not being able to visit friends on the assisted living floors added worry about their isolation.

As our protocols evolved, family visits stopped, then became possible if the visitor had a negative test — then, after the Thanksgiving covid spike, stopped again…

Our heartaches and losses are complicated and multilayered. Many of us mourn friends or family. We who are also caregivers grieve as a spouse’s diminishing cognition accelerates in lockdown. We ache to be able to hug grandchildren — or anyone.