For 13 months, a pane of glass has been not only a window to the world for 15-year-old Emerson Schorr, but his only connection to it.
“He’s very social, even though he's primarily non-verbal. He's a big hugger, which has been hard,” said his mother Kelly Schorr.
Because of his special needs and compromised immune system, Kelly says they've stayed home longer than most to keep Emerson safe.
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Throughout the last year, everyone from friends to teachers, and even Santa Claus, has stopped by to lift his spirits.
Still, from their side of the glass, Kelly has watched Emerson decline.
“We did all these medical tests before we realized that there's really nothing physically wrong, so we realized that it's just more of an emotional thing. He's just missing the world,” said Schorr.
Near the top of that list is Kelly’s dad, Emerson’s grandad.
Despite nightly phone calls and kisses shared through the window, none of them have hugged him since last March.
That was just a week after they buried Kelly’s mom.
“There was that whole added degree of difficulty for him. He wanted constant reassurance that my dad was still at the house,” said Schorr.
But as the number of cases has dropped, guidance has shifted and the percentage of people vaccinated has increased, Kelly said she and her husband have seen the light at the end of the tunnel.
Sunday, with those old enough to receive the vaccine fully vaccinated, Kelly’s dad surprised Emerson with a visit not just through the window but with a real-life hug.
“It means the world. Emerson would hug every single person if he could, and I think he might start to once we get back out,” said Schorr.
She’s hopeful that can happen soon.