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Empty Chairs

Earlier this week, we passed a grim milestone: 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. 250,000 American families will have an empty chair at the Thanksgiving table.

And it’s awful.

It’s awful for the front line health workers. It’s awful for the teachers. It’s awful for the families that kept their kids home. It’s awful for the grandparents that can’t hug their grandchildren; it’s awful for the grandchildren who miss the hugs. It’s awful that we can’t celebrate the milestones the way we want to. It’s awful that we can’t grieve together when we lose someone. It’s awful for everyone.

But to the people hosting parties, going to parties, looking for the way around the rules so you can “get away with it," please take this blog and whatever device you are reading it on and shove it. I am so tired of hearing you say that your kids “deserve" a sleepover because they have sacrificed so much. I do not want to hear you say “well, I’m still having all my cousins over because what are they going to do, come to my house and stop me?” Nope. Sorry. We have all sacrificed so much - 250,000 of us have sacrificed a freaking family member. Wear your mask, cancel your plans, and follow the freaking rules. 10 people. SMALL gatherings. Know your risks. Get tested, be informed, make good choices. We have come so far. The scientists are doing the hard hard work and National Treasure Dolly Parton gave them so much money and they are going to start distributing vaccines soon. It may be a while before we all get one - let’s let the front line healthcare heroes who we were willing to clap for but seemingly can’t bother masking for, let’s let them have at it first. And then the teachers. And the restaurant workers. And all the grandparents. The childcare workers. The pilots and flight attendants. The hotel concierge teams. If you are working from home but besides that, not much has changed for you, head to the back of the line.

And as we head into Thanksgiving week, be grateful for what you DO have - a perhaps smaller table at Thanksgiving, but still a hot meal and a warm bed and cable television. Zoom is free and unlimited all day on Thanksgiving. Set up a family zoom, keep it small, and hope for better times ahead. We’ve come so far. We can keep going a little bit longer.

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