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'He brought kisses and hugs' | Coronavirus vaccine helps mom, son hug for first time in a year

"My son came to see me, he brought kisses and hugs. I just can hardly believe it."

LAKE ST LOUIS, Mo. — A year ago our lives changed with COVID-19.

Many families went into lockdown and isolation.

But now, more than 365 days later, reunions are finally starting to happen.

That's the case for Maxine and Glen McCurren in St. Charles County. 

Maxine lives at the Cottages of Lake St. Louis. She's one of 60 residents.

Owner and CEO Al Beamer said about 40 of the residents are long-term residents.

About 60 to 70% have some level of dementia. Making a confusing time even more complicated for residents. 

When COVID-19 came into the picture, McCurren is one of many who adjusted, only seeing his mom through a window and hearing her voice through a phone.

"The visits are nice, but not the same thing," he said.

Cottages of Lake St. Louis even got creative by having visitors on the other side of the fence or visiting through plexiglass. 

Credit: Cottages of Lake St. Louis

But on Tuesday, McCurren was able to get the real deal and hug his mom a year later.

"My son came to see me, he brought kisses and hugs!" Maxine said. "Thank you for all your calls and telling me that you love me."

Vaccines are putting up a fight against the virus, which means moments like these can happen as regulations are changing nursing home visits.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released updated guidance for nursing homes last week.

"The regulation just changed last week that allowed us have indoor visits in their rooms. If the elder is vaccinated, then they can have hug visits," Beamer said. 

This gives Maxine another shot to hold her baby boy again.

"My son came to see me, I just can hardly believe it. I’m glad you are here today," Maxine said. 

With many losses, something was gained for them. Appreciation found a home within this family.

"We appreciate small things much more than we did before COVID. A hug from your mom is a hug from your mom, but after a year, it’s a whole different ball game so this has been great," McCurren said.

The pandemic has shown us its overpowering destruction.

But we know, that love conquers all. 

Maxine says, "We’re enjoying this get-together, thank you."

If you are trying to visit your loved one, make sure to double-check the guidelines for that specific facility. Some rules may vary from one location to the next.

For example, Delmar Gardens allows indoor visits if the resident and visitor are fully vaccinated.