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OPINION: Maybe we don't deserve a Happy Thanksgiving

The Henry Hype

With the holidays quickly approaching, I wasn’t surprised when people started to say we 'deserve' to celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Even though Alberta alone had 1,462 active cases as of the Sept. 24 provincial update, social media comments were adamant that families were getting together around the table this year to enjoy some turkey, and parents were helping their children pick their costumes to go trick-or-treating.

I saw some that brought up the fact that this was the same thing that was said around Easter and how they weren’t missing out on another holiday.

It honestly boggled my mind - can’t people see the pattern? If we had followed the provincial instructions back in April, maybe it would have been okay for us to have a get together for Thanksgiving.

I saw a lot of backlash in response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comment about how we may not have a big Thanksgiving, but that could mean families can get together for Christmas.

That gave me a bit of hope.

I haven’t seen my family since last December because of the coronavirus pandemic. I made the decision a few months ago that I wouldn’t go back home this year if Canada’s coronavirus numbers weren't under control because I refuse to put my loved ones at risk.

What if I caught it during my travels and infected my mom, dad, brothers, and nephew? I couldn’t even imagine that. I couldn’t live with the knowledge that one of them could be forced to fight for their life, alone, because I made the selfish decision to fly home when this pandemic wasn’t remotely under control.

I’m immune-compromised. If I get sick, I may not recover or could have medical issues for a very long time.

This isn’t me saying that if you’ve formed a cohort with family and friends that you shouldn’t get together with them. If your family has made a group of people that you’ve been seeing, the province gave the okay, and having a small Thanksgiving with them would be a great idea. But I am against getting together with upwards of 30 people for the sake of doing it because the government said not to.

Keep dinner small this time in hopes of restrictions being lifted for Thanksgiving next year. That way, the single and alone people like me can have hope of seeing their families, and only have to be sad for a short amount of time.

There’s a big reality that I may have to be okay with a video call with my family on Christmas Day, and that breaks my heart. Will I do it if it means myself and others will be free to travel safely next year? Of course. I won’t put myself and others at risk, and I hope others feel the same way.

This pandemic has shown us that a lot of people are incredibly selfish when they’re asked to do something for the sake of others, but I really hope there’s others, like myself, who are making those sacrifices so our holidays will get back to normal sooner rather than later.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle