We’ve all felt loss during the pandemic. Scaled down graduations,
postponed weddings, cancelled vacations, restrictions on who to see
and where to go, or for far too many like me, the loss of a loved
Back in March my Great Uncle Gaetano, whom I was very close with,
passed away. He didn’t have COVID-19, but because of restrictions due
to the virus he passed away at the hospital alone - which upset him
and the rest of my family deeply.
Sadness stayed with me and amplified my own feelings of isolation as
a college student unexpectedly back home, no longer surrounded by the
buzz of campus life. I wanted – needed – to do something.
An opportunity appeared in a school email calling for volunteers
for Big & Mini, an
organization bringing “Minis”, young people like me, together with
“Bigs”, people from an older generation, through video chatting to
connect and gain different perspectives on life.
I quickly signed up to be a Mini and was paired with my Big, Connie.
After a few “getting to know you” calls, we bridged the distance (I’m
in New Jersey, Connie is in Texas), and our age (21 and 81), to become
Connie tells me I remind her of her granddaughter; she certainly
reminds me of my Great Uncle Gaetano. Like him, she lights up a room
and she has so much to share. She tells me what her children and
grandchildren are up to and I talk about what’s going on in my life.
It’s been easy to feel down these days, but talking to Connie always
lifts me up.