by Ashley Zarcone
ROCHESTER, NY – Going from large family dinners every Sunday evening, to now only being able to see family through FaceTime calls, Laura DeMarco, 92, is feeling the heartache that comes along with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Raised in a large Italian family all under one roof, DeMarco, a first generation American citizen, grew up accustomed to large family gatherings and celebrations.
“It was always everyone together, we were never apart. We were all one big happy family and that’s how we all wanted to be,” DeMarco said
With COVID-19 regulations becoming a part of everyday routine, DeMarco has watched life pass her by from her bedroom window. Continuing to remain indoors, DeMarco goes without the ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of grocery shopping, going on long drives, or walking around the mall, in fear of contracting the Coronavirus.
“I try to stay as informed as I can about the pandemic, making sure that I can stay as up to date in the world as I can. I think the last time I went into a grocery store was a year ago. It’s sad to think about…I miss being able to walk around, see people, and be able to buy myself things. It’s difficult to depend on others all the time,” DeMarco said.
Being 92, DeMarco remarkably continues to stay motivated and moving during this time of uncertainty — making her daily regime include tasks that keep her mind and body active, such as doing laundry, making her bed, and cooking meals for herself.
“It keeps me sane. I’m sick of always sitting watching TV and the news…so I’m very fortunate to be able to move around and have the strength that I do,” DeMarco says.
However, DeMarco finds that the pandemic has taken a toll on her mental health and wellbeing. After the sudden passing of her daughter, Lauren Zarcone, 49, in 2017 to Hepatitis C, DeMarco resides with her son in law and two granddaughters.
“It was very hard losing her, and it’s a loss that I think no one can comprehend…This pandemic has allowed me have more time by myself to think about her and feel lonely and sad. Which is why it’s so hard to not be able to see my family. But, once my family is home and around, they take care of me. They make me happy and they comfort me. We are all going through this loss..that’s why we need eachother,” DeMarco said.
By living through many hardships and difficulties during her life, DeMarco continues to fight through the loneliness in which this pandemic brings and continues to believe that there is a light at the end of this darkness.
“I lived through a lot of things in my life, but this is something that is very different from what I can remember. I’ve never had to be away from my family for this long…or be this nervous to get sick or get others sick. That’s why all I can do is continue to pray for a better future ahead as well as keep myself and the others around me safe,” DeMarco said.
Finding strength in herself and immediate family, DeMarco continues to stay positive and hopeful for better times, and family reunions, to come.