I usually work on Thanksgiving so that I can be off for Christmas and go home to be with my family. This year, so much was stolen from me.
My father passed away on August 1, 2020. I never imagined it could happen even though my brain reminded me that eventually we will all die. It’s the one true constant and the one truth that is inevitable. Losing my precious Daddy has been the most difficult thing I have ever gone through. I was a Daddy’s girl to the core.
Then I had this strange realization that I am now the head of my family. So many mixed emotions happen on a daily basis. One minute I’m laughing and having wonderful memories with my Daddy, my family, and all of the Ochoa clan. The next minute, I’m crying my eyes out or just being so sad.
The one thing that I’m so grateful for, is that my mother is still alive and yet, it’s also bitter sweet because I cannot be with her due to COVID-19. Most likely, I will not be with her for Christmas either. The one fear I had when COVID-19 began is that someone in my family would be hospitalized or dying and I wouldn’t be able to be with them. That happened because my Daddy had to be at the VA and even though he didn’t have COVID-19, no one could visit. Now I worry that something will happen to my mother and I won’t be able to be there.
I also had a breakdown this year because of my father’s diagnosis. He was hoping for at least 5 more years to finish accomplishing all that he wanted to accomplish, but he went downhill so fast. Diagnosed in April, bedridden in July and then passed on August 1st. All the while, my poor little sister, her husband, and her oldest son had to take on that responsibility of caring for our daddy. They moved in with him and my sister, God bless her, was the rock for all of us.
Now we are here in the holiday season and it’s just me and my husband. We have no family around us. There will be no celebrations this year since we have to continue to stay away from people to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. It’s one of the many sacrifices that so many of us have had to make this year. COVID-19 may not have affected us because we have not contracted the virus, but it has still affected us because they sent my daddy home to die because they needed his bed for COVID-19 patients. He didn’t have the hospice care that he should have gotten from the VA, nor did they care.
Please remember that just because you don’t have it, that doesn’t give you the right to endanger others. You can still pick up the virus at any given moment every time you step outside of your home and go to the grocery store, or go shopping for things you don’t really need, or going to church, or other people’s homes. It might be you who has a medical emergency but there may not be room for you because all of the hospital beds are full due to COVID-19. Family members turn into nursing staff because you are not able to care for yourself, but the hospitals can’t care for you either.
Wearing a mask is so simple and it doesn’t infringe on your rights. It infringes on the right for everyone to live and come out of this pandemic still in tact. You don’t get to decide whether or not you “want” to wear a mask. You should wear it because you wear a seatbelt which restricts you so that it saves lives. You can’t drive drunk because the law prohibits that in order to save lives. Please wear your mask because it too saves lives.
This holiday season, let’s remember that it’s not just all about you. Your actions affect a lot of people. Let’s get through this like smart adults and not like narcissistic juveniles who think they know it all. Think of others, think of your own family and wear that damn mask! A small inconvenience that will save lives and not overwhelm our hospitals and the people sacrificing their lives to care for us.