A Little Help From Her Friends

A friend who is in her 80s posted on Facebook about a family wedding she planned to attend, 700 miles away from her home. It would require traveling by plane, staying in a house with extended family members, and attending a big wedding with relatives she desperately missed and was anxious to see.

She had already made the reservations but was reading enough cautions about being in airports and about attending large gatherings that she was having second thoughts. She posted to ask if her friends thought it was OK for her to go. She wanted to be reassured that she should attend, that being with family members at a special time was more important than a slight risk of catching the virus.

Some of her friends told her that, of course, but most of us did not. We cited statistics about how the danger was not slight, pointed out that she is in a high-risk group, and lovingly urged her to keep herself safe by having someone at the other end set up a way for her to watch the events virtually. In the end, she reluctantly canceled her trip.

This week, she got word that shortly after the wedding, a relative in the house she was supposed to stay in was diagnosed with covid-19. And she posted again, thanking us profusely for convincing her not to go.

She is someone I greatly admire and care about, one of the kindest, funniest, strongest, and most original people I know. I am thrilled and relieved that she decided to make the sacrifice to keep herself and others safe. And I feel good knowing I played a part in helping her make that decision.

Stay safe, everyone! It’s worth missing out on being with loved ones now, for a while, in order to protect yourself and them. This dark time will pass. When it does, and you’re back celebrating with your family, let there be no more empty seats.

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