That Call You Don’t Want to Get

A few days ago, I received a call from my 36-year old nephew. We had already spoken once that day so when the phone rang, I assumed it was a continuation of the earlier discussion.

When I answered, I noticed the reception was bad and I could barely hear him. Asking him to repeat what he just said, my heart stopped when he said, “Nana, I’m in the hospital.”

My first thought was that he had been in an automobile accident. In spite of the bad reception, I understood him clearly enough to hear his symptoms. Unfortunately, they were way too close to what we have now begun to identify as Covid related: high temperature, chills, shortness of breath, extreme headache, muscle aches, etc.

I thanked him for calling. We agreed on a stay-in-touch plan (if he was able) and I hung up the phone.

Taking stock

Anyone who knows me knows that I am really close to my nephew.  My first thought was denial – this can’t be happening… this is unfair. He has been so careful, so I quickly moved into blame – blaming others (whoever they were) for their carelessness.

My mind selfishly raced to thoughts of what would I do without him in my life? What impact would a bad outcome have on his four-year old son? The stages of grief kicked in immediately and brought me to my knees:  shock, denial, pain and anger.

My head was spinning. I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t think about anything but him and the craziness of this virus. I was where so many family members have been, and perhaps others will be before this is over.  I began to bargain with God. Spare him, take me instead, just let him be ok.

My fears were overwhelming. My mind raced. I reminded myself to breathe… What do you do with all that?

I am a firm believer in the Circle of Control, so I tried to put aside my fears long enough to process: what was within my control; what was within my influence; and what were my concerns that I couldn’t do anything about?

Next, I immediately reached out to his wife to get more details. For the next several minutes, we played the what if game. In spite of where our minds wanted to go, we tried to be positive, hopeful and focus on what each of us could do. I think in those first 24 hours, the thing we did the best was be there for one another.

The good news is that this story has a happy ending. Although my nephew was really sick, his Covid test came back negative. Within a few days, his temperature started coming down and slowly, other symptoms lessened.

As he was beginning to feel a little better, he texted me with “Talk?” which is our signal for unless you’re in the middle of work, can we chat?  As I asked a thousand questions (selfishly for me) to make sure he was alright, he said “Nana, I think I’ve got this figured out.

So, to celebrate the returning health of my wonderful nephew who is a great husband and father; I am sharing his:

Cure for What Ails You

  1. Get your butt out of the chair as soon as you’re able (or before).
  2. Spend time with those you love and when you can’t, call or text them.
  3. Get something accomplished (even something small is good).
  4. Listen to what your Mom and Nana are telling you.
  5. Eat a fresh tomato out of the garden.

I laughed at first, but then after I hung up, I realized the wisdom of this young man.

  1. No matter what you are facing, you’ve got to tell yourself you can, and then you’ve got to
  2. There is no substitute for love – it really is the greatest healer of them all.
  3. Accomplishments are important. They are an indicator of whether or not you are moving in the right direction. In this case… getting good health back.
  4. The names and relationships may change for you, but I bet you have that someone/s that you trust. You know they always have your best interest at heart and would do anything in the world for you. (Another example of the power of love).
  5. You might not like tomatoes and/or you might not be able to get a fresh one, but part of the recovery process is eating things that are good for you.

Until we meet again, take your medicine, and stay healthy!


Like what you’ve just read? Sign up now and get JC’s Corner emailed to you every month at no charge. Just send your name and email address to and we’ll add you to our subscriber list.


  1. Wendy Fennell

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience – and providing positive insight! It is too easy to get trapped in today’s negativity. We all need to remember to stop and breathe … so that we too may figure this thing out.

  2. Corless

    I loved this it really was right on and teally hit home for me

  3. Cheryl

    Consider this taking your advice on suggestion #2! So glad to know thIs story can continue in such a positive way! c


    Love this Joan and I pray for his speedy recovery.

    1. Joan

      Thanks Sara! Hope you and yours are doing well! Best jc

  5. Lauren

    Omgosh Joan- we can lose our kinds when it comes to our love ones. Thank you for the words of wisdom; love and positive affirmation do help and may we be divinely protected to keep us safe in times of need. 🙏🏻

  6. Lisa Brown

    Thank you for sharing your personal story. I am so happy to hear that he is healthy and doing well. Thank you for the encouragement to take care of ourselves!

  7. Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

Add A Comment