New York Daily News

Don’t be self­ish this Thanks­giv­ing

- BY MIRYAM PINTO BILL BRAMHALL IS ON VA­CA­TION Pinto is a teacher and writer.

Echo­ing the warn­ings of pub­lic health ex­perts, Gov. Cuomo gave New York­ers a sin­cere yet blunt ad­mo­ni­tion in re­cent days: Skip large gath­er­ings or risk fu­el­ing a “tremen­dous spike” of COVID-19 cases af­ter Thanks­giv­ing. Hand in hand with that fear came a new reg­u­la­tion: fam­ily gath­er­ings will be capped at 10 peo­ple statewide.

Based on the back­lash that en­sued, you would’ve thought the gov­er­nor was can­cel­ing Thanks­giv­ing or call­ing off the en­tire holiday season for good. To add in­sult to in­jury, up­state sher­iffs have re­fused to up­hold the gov­er­nor’s or­der be­cause they de­clined to in­ter­fere with “the great tra­di­tion of Thanks­giv­ing.”

I’m here to tell you from painful per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence that bring­ing fam­ily around the table isn’t worth it. It will bring sick­ness and death.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas. There’s noth­ing more joy­ful than pre­par­ing a huge, cel­e­bra­tory din­ner. But some tra­di­tions are not worth the pain they can bring.

I lost my mother to COVID-19 in late March when COVID rates were at their peak. My en­tire fam­ily dy­namic was flipped up­side down as I slowly be­gan to lose other fam­ily mem­bers, in­clud­ing my ma­ter­nal grand­fa­ther, who died of a bro­ken heart af­ter be­ing emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally dis­traught due to los­ing his only daugh­ter.

The af­ter­math of los­ing two fam­ily mem­bers in the span of three months made me hit rock bot­tom both emo­tion­ally and fi­nan­cially. Not only did I have to as­sume new fam­ily re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for a role life had not pre­pared me for, but I also had to face th­ese two losses on my own.

Friends and fam­ily were only able to reach out through a phone call or a sym­pa­thy card as I said my last good­byes in an empty fu­neral wake. I later dis­cov­ered that I had con­tracted COVID and had to deal with the sever­ity of the virus at home in iso­la­tion along with my grief, won­der­ing if I was go­ing to have the same fate as my mother. Even once I re­cov­ered, it was dif­fi­cult to fig­ure out how to go for­ward with my life.

Birth­days and hol­i­days will never be the same for my grand­mother and me; even if we were gath­er­ing ex­tended fam­ily this Thanks­giv­ing — which we’re not — we would have two empty places at the table.

For months, we car­ried the emo­tional bur­den and the con­stant what-ifs. At the time, we blamed our­selves or ques­tioned our­selves end­lessly, ask­ing what we could have done dif­fer­ently to save them.

As time pro­gressed, we re­al­ized we did ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble on our end and took ex­treme pre­cau­tions from Day 1. How­ever, not all New York­ers can say the same.

Those who scoff at Cuomo’s ad­vice, who in­sist upon bring­ing ex­tended fam­ily to­gether around a table, in­doors, un­masked, seem to have the memories of gold­fish.

It doesn’t mat­ter who’s been tested; it doesn’t mat­ter what other pre­cau­tions you think you’re tak­ing. The sim­ple act of bring­ing peo­ple who are part of dif­fer­ent bub­bles to­gether will in­evitably spread dis­ease, which will bring more hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and more deaths.

A pat­tern I have per­son­ally no­ticed is that the re­jec­tion of the gov­er­nor’s or­der comes from ei­ther right-wing con­ser­va­tive New York­ers or New York­ers who have not been di­rectly af­fected or lost a fam­ily mem­ber to COVID-19. As harsh as this may sound, it seems like th­ese same peo­ple will not un­der­stand un­less they are di­rectly af­fected by it. Are peo­ple re­ally that thick? Are they re­ally that un­will­ing to un­der­stand how ba­sic science works, facts that mil­lions of us have learned the hard way since this pandemic be­gan?

Los­ing fam­ily mem­bers dur­ing a pandemic has been emo­tion­ally trau­matic and ex­haust­ing.

So please, I urge my fel­low New York­ers: Stop be­ing self­ish.

Whether you agree or dis­agree with Cuomo’s lead­er­ship, whether he in­spires or an­noys you, COVID-19 is some­thing that should not be taken lightly.

This is the time to be rea­son­able. Use your com­mon sense. Fol­low the rules.

Do you want to spend Christ­mas get­ting your last rites in ICU or ring in the New Year with­out your mother, grand­fa­ther, or any loved one by your side? If you love your fam­ily as much as you say you do, stay home. Count your bless­ings next year when you can fi­nally share a meal.

Quite frankly, no one is even ask­ing you to make that big of a sac­ri­fice. Tech­nol­ogy is so advanced nowa­days that we can vir­tu­ally share a meal. Although it is not the same, it beats hav­ing an empty seat at the next fam­ily re­union.

Flat­ten the curve so you don’t have to go through the pain that thou­sands of other fam­i­lies and I have to en­dure in the fu­ture of not hav­ing our loved ones around to cel­e­brate fu­ture hol­i­days and mile­stones.

mind­ing its own busi­ness in the com­fort of its nat­u­ral habi­tat when it was wrapped up within the branches of a huge tree for three days, trucked hun­dreds of miles to a for­eign place and, lo and be­hold, sur­vived through it all and has been aptly named for its fi­nal des­ti­na­tion, Rock­e­feller. Wish­ing ev­ery­one a happy, healthy Thanks­giv­ing and holiday season, with strength and for­ti­tude, like the tiny Rock­e­feller.

Lynne Larsen

If you have never seen “Wild in the Streets” (1968), watch it. In­ter­est­ing parts cer­tainly make you think of how crazy our po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment can be­come, but hope­fully it never will. It’s on Turner Clas­sic Movies, so be sure to give your­self at least an hour to watch it. En­joy, and have a happy and safe Thanks­giv­ing on the way. Peace.

Deo­nia Neveu

Big boso

The big ques­tion this Thanks­giv­ing is: Will the tur­keys par­don Trump? Bob Bodo

Thanks­giv­ing? Yeah, right! Thanks for COVID, thanks for the in­crease in crime, thanks for stupid peo­ple not obey­ing COVID rules, thanks for school clos­ings, thanks for the toi­let pa­per short­age, thanks for clean­ing prod­uct short­ages, thanks for no cruise va­ca­tions, thanks for a mo­ron who re­fuses to give up the Oval Of­fice — yeah, Thanks­giv­ing!

So once again, an­other Ha­sidic wed­ding in Wil­liams­burg on Nov. 8 with no reper­cus­sions. Our fear­less lead­ers will look into this, but the dam­age has been done. Our mayor has the au­dac­ity to apol­o­gize, and then our gov­er­nor says he will take away their lunch money. Let us be real, they do what they want and that will never change — ev­ery­body in NYC knows that. If you think the peo­ple are go­ing to limit Thanks­giv­ing gath­er­ings, think again. I will have my Thanks­giv­ing, and I will have my fam­ily — as many as I choose.

Manny Agos­tini

Re­pel­lent be­hav­ior

Our so-called Gov. Cuomo will have no prob­lem ad­her­ing to his dra­co­nian “only 10 fam­ily mem­bers” at a Thanks­giv­ing cel­e­bra­tion. That is be­cause no nine peo­ple would want to be

Be as grace­ful as grate­ful

I read the de­struc­tive piece by Coun­cil­man Joe Borelli in your “Be Our Guest” col­umn. I was amazed that a coun­cil­man would be this ir­re­spon­si­ble dur­ing a time of cri­sis. Borelli wants us all to feel the same sense of en­ti­tle­ment he feels, to pro­ceed with a greater-than-10-fam­ily-mem­ber din­ner for Thanks­giv­ing as well as any other holiday gath­er­ing in his large home. He de­scribes his Un­cle Bill, a Korean War frog­man who no­body should tell to shel­ter from this pesky virus. Thank you for re­mind­ing us that our fam­ily is our fam­ily as that is why I, hav­ing a pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tion, will be stay­ing home. The pre­cau­tions put in place are in­tended to

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