Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thanksgiving is Canceled


I haven’t written a lot during the pandemic. I guess because I’ve sort of felt that we’re all in the same boat, even though we’re not. We’re not because there are people who continue to flout responsibility. 

There are people who think the pandemic is a hoax. Still. Even after nearly 250,000 of our fellow Americans have died. A quarter of a million people. Let that sink in.

In Michigan, I thought we had turned a corner. In June, we were down to 100 cases a day. And then our Republican legislature decided that it would be a good idea to have our (Democratic) Governor’s powers struck down. And can you guess what happened? Our cases have gone up, astronomically. (See graphic below)

Last week we reported over 8,500 cases in one day. More than double our worst day during the first go around. I’m not trying to be overly political. It’s a fact. If you look at the graph and look at what happened after October 2, 2020, it’s pretty clear to see (and if you can’t tell, I added an arrow and a box for reference).

Even before our state came out with new restrictions, we made the difficult decision to cancel Thanksgiving. It was a difficult decision, even as a high risk individual, but it ultimately is not worth the risk to myself and to the rest of my family to hold a gathering. I don’t think I’d be able to live with myself if anything happened to anyone in my family because we held Thanksgiving despite the risks.

So I decided that I would make food and we would drop it off to everyone – outside. That way, we can all be fed. I even found a way to get Kosher Thanksgiving food delivered to my sister and her husband in Ohio.

And for those who are mad now, just wait. I guarantee the restrictions that are starting aren’t going to be enough. And you know what? I don’t care if you’re mad. You know why? Because I want to live through this, and I want my friends and family to live through this. I’ve been on near house arrest for 9 months and I’m not complaining. For those who feel that their freedom is being diminished? How would you feel if for 9 months, your entire existence has been diminished? Those who say that those of us who are chronically ill and disabled can just stay home while the rest can go on living their lives? If you can’t see past your own nose, that’s the problem. This isn’t about you. It’s about the collective, we, us. We need to be safe, not just for ourselves, but for everyone else. I would love, love, love to spend Thanksgiving with my family. But it’s just not safe.

This year sucks. That’s the only way to say it. While I do know someone who had COVID in the summer, I now know people who have family or friends that have died from it. Don’t believe me? Read this heartbreaking blog post from my friend Kelly. So the reality is, things are as bad as they are claiming. COVID seems to be getting closer and closer, no matter how hard we try and avoid it.

So yes, we have been and will continue to do hard things, to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID. It may fall disproportionately on those who are high risk than those who are healthy or opt to believe that COVID isn’t real or that it cannot possibly get them. I saw a meme that said “Zoomsgiving is better than ICU Christmas”. So do what you have to do to make not celebrating this year akin to celebrating. Know that making the choice now means more celebrations later.

And just remember, while Thanksgiving is canceled, love and family are not. Be grateful that we have technology that can connect us with our loved ones, no matter where in the world we (and they) are. We cancel this year so that next year, we are all healthy, safe, and alive so that we can gather together then. Because there are people, like my friend Kelly, who won’t be able to have Thanksgiving or any other holiday with their loved one again.