My Mom Wouldn’t Want You To Get Sick

21 May 2020

My dear Mom just died of Coronavirus. She was one month shy of 94. Don’t let her age fool you. She’d pulled off a number of health care miracles in the past, bouncing back from devastating illnesses despite all odds. Until Covid-19. Toni, as she liked to be called, was so generous, she’d give you the shirt off her back and the shoes besides. Imperfect as we all are, she had her toxic moments. Yet Toni was effervescent, warm and protective of others, watching everyone around her like a hawk. And if she were still here, she wouldn’t want you to get sick. 

So, here is some sage advice I’m sure my intuitive-to-the-point-of-uncanny mom would give us all if she still could:

Don’t trust anyone who dares you to do
something reckless when they do the opposite.

When I see Trump pushing “reopen” rallies—even though those most in danger of contracting Covid-19 are those who stand in close proximity to each other—I have to speak out. This disease is passed most often by person-to-person contact—like standing in crowds, being in nursing homes, at restaurants, grocery stores, meat packing plants, athletic events.

When I see people raging at the inconvenience of wearing a mask, even though doing so would help ensure they don’t give a front line worker a horrible disease, I have to speak out.

When Trump’s son Eric claims on national television that this pandemic is merely a hoax designed to make his father look bad, I have to speak out.  93,500 dead in the U.S. in a couple of months is not a hoax.

A Florida man in his mid-40s believed Covid-19 was a “fake virus,” until he and his wife contracted it. They are both in isolation at a local hospital and he now says, “I have come to accept that my wife may pass away.”

When men like Chris Christie say we’ve got to re-open the country and be willing to sacrifice countless (nameless) persons to the bargain—please note that he’s not willing to throw himself or his family onto the pyre.

Coronavirus affects people of all ages. Surely the elderly are in greater danger, yet doctors with whom I’ve spoken made it clear this “sneaky” disease has also taken the lives of 40 year olds—even those with no underlying health conditions.

The people I trust to tell me about the horrors of Covid-19 are medical professionals on the front lines. Not politicians trying to shore up their poll numbers by sweeping their inadequate response to a pandemic under the rug.

One of the most horrible aspects of Covid-19, and a sorrow my family and I now share with over 319,000 families around the world, was being robbed of the ability to hold my mother during the last two months of her life.

I was one of the lucky ones who actually got to see my mom for 15 minutes alone to say goodbye. Outfitted in head-to-toe PPE garb, including mask and clear plastic face visor, I stroked her hair with my gloved hand. I don’t wish that kind of “goodbye” on anyone.

Despite my concerns, one of her doctors put her on Plaquenil (aka Hydroxychloroquine) saying it “was shown to help in milder cases.” She died three weeks later.

I understand the devastation to millions during this economic shutdown. I want society to reopen, and quickly. I want us to be able to be social with each other and work and play together and have a thriving economy. And if it’s going to take everybody washing their hands with soap and water constantly and wearing a mask, for now, until we get a vaccine, then do it.  Don’t complain.

So you’re inconvenienced. You’re alive.

Keep it that way. Don’t allow hypocrites (on any “news” network), who now work from the safety of their own homes, tell you to go out and do the opposite.

Their agendas have nothing to do with your well-being.

By the way, our country would likely be able to re-open faster if everyone respected social distancing parameters, sheltering in place if instructed. And, no, don’t say it’s “slavery” or “taking your freedom”. Stop it. You insult every person who has actually experienced those horrors.

Those who know me know how much I treasure my privacy. The bits of my life that are mine, I guard carefully. Yet this affects too many for me not to talk about my mother’s death.

We can do this, together. We can open the economy back up sooner than later if we’re willing to uniformly take precautions that not only protect us, but protect all of the angels on the front lines risking their lives for us.

Make no mistake, the danger of Coronavirus is real.

Please share this with as many people as you can and thanks for reading, because I know in my heart, mom wouldn’t want you to get sick.

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Comments

  1. Elaine Plummer Says: May 21, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    All it takes is a mask and hand washing/antibacterial felling to make a difference. Sending a big hug from afar with a mask on Anita❤️

  2. Jean Dziekan Lachowicz Says: May 21, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Anita. Please accept my heartfelt condolences, and my sincere thanks for this important article.

  3. Nancy Youngblut Says: May 21, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    So very sorry you lost your mom to Covid- 19. So horrible. Love that you had her for such a long time, though. Thanks for this article and stay safe yourself.

    Nancy Youngblut

    • I feel blessed that we had so many years together.

      • Anita, Such an important article, I can only hope and pray that more people hid and see what’s happening around the world, that this is no joke.
        I’m Anita’s Sister and feel the pain and loss of my Mom everyday. I believe that she would made to the age of 94 +, if not getting COVID-19. She was an incredibly strong and determined woman.

        • Mary Kay Bonfante Says: May 25, 2020 at 12:15 am

          Trudi! You are Anita’s sister, who I heard so much about, but never got to meet, growing up. I am very sorry for your loss.
          You must have some idea of how much Anita looked up to you as a young teenager, but believe me, we all did too (me and our other friends). She talked about you with great love and admiration, and I think I remember a wedding, too!
          It’s a blessing that you and Anita have one another. May God comfort and strengthen you both, and your whole family. It’s a very difficult thing you’re going through, and I hope you will be comforted by sweet memories, the love of God and the presence of family and friends.

  4. Christopher Robinson Says: May 21, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. Poignant, imperative reading for all affected by this pandemic. On March 23rd, i also bid my father farewell after complications from cancer. I wore gloves, a gown and mask as we sat with him that night. When it was time to leave, my sister and I gathered our things and I put my hand on daddy’s and told him I loved him and to “take it easy” (as he would always say). He hadn’t responded too much to us the whole evening, but when I touched him, he turned his head , opened his eyes Looked dead at me and nodded.
    This detail only became special to me the next morning at 8 45 am when the VA called. As difficult as it’s been I have to thank God that our family’s experience actually pales in comparison with some of the [visitation limitations] horror stories that have and will continue to emerge. The VA had tested dad at some point and he was negative but we all believe covid19 was at the very least complicit. It’s just my hope people can exercise patience and common sense as we enter this phase of a “return” to normal, knowing what we have learned since Jan. It’s unfortunate that scores more people will die simply because we have a President who abides by the principle of “do as I say, not as I do” and his right leaning counterparts in leadership roles all over the country see nothing wrong, refuse to “call out“ bs or simply do what is “necessary and maybe difficult”, as opposed to “what may earn them Re-election”. Your mother’s words are indeed “sound advice” at a time when MAGats believe – this Virus, is something manufactured or created in hopes of stifling trump’s campaign and therefore, purposefully do the opposite of what doctors and epidemiologists recommend going forward. Thanks again for sharing and again my deepest condolences.

    • My deepest condolences to you as well. Thank you, Christopher for your thoughtful comments and for trusting me enough to share your sorrow. I have “met” so many kind and amazing people on line, it is a privilege. All my best wishes to you and your family.

  5. Sabrina Says: May 21, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Sending massive hugs and prayers of peace during this difficult time. Thank you.

  6. Dionne Neish Says: May 21, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    So sorry for your loss. To lose your mum any age is always difficult.
    Thank you for sharing and trying to warn people of the dangers we all gave and how simple it is to save 100 hundreds of people with simple measures.
    Sending you and your family love and prayers

  7. Mary Kay Bonfante Says: May 22, 2020 at 1:35 am

    That’s a beautiful picture of you and your Mom, Anita. I’m sure she would agree with all of the sound advice you’re sharing. Unfortunately, there are still many people who refuse to accept the very real dangers of this pathogen. Many of us have already been personally impacted by Covid-19, beyond the inconvenience and the surreal nature of our changing world — and of course, I’m talking about lives lost. Friends, gone. Or death among family members, which I’m sorry you have now endured.
    I could share more, about loss, and illness, but this is about your very dear mother. I still remember that she said, “A woman of 40 will never look 30, dressing like 20.” She was witty and charming, too. As a teenager, I was impressed by both of your parents, and their love.
    It is good to know that you had those last moments with Mom, such as they were. Although the experience lacked the finer elements of intimacy, Mom had the reality of your presence with her, by her side, and the assurance of your touch, even wearing a glove. I wish it could have been different for both of you — a better, more natural experience, but the important thing is that you were there. I wish that miserable virus had never infected your mother.
    I am wondering where your mother was living; still in Queens, or out in California?
    I send my deepest condolences across the miles, or to wherever you are, at this moment. My husband Jorge and I both send our sympathy to you and your family.
    May your mother rest in peace with God, and may your memories of her always encourage you and bless you. I know that grieving is a process, so please be very patient with yourself.
    Much love and big hugs,
    Mary Kay

    • Mary Kay, thank you so much for your kind, warm and beautiful reply. And it’s so lovely to hear from someone who actually knew my mom. I had moved her to California 20 years ago so that I could be closer to her. I’m grateful to have done so because it helped us to reinvent our relationship and grow even closer. I’m also thankful to have reconnected with you and for the outpouring of feeling from so many who are moved to hear even a tiny bit of Mom’s story.

      • Mary Kay Bonfante Says: May 25, 2020 at 12:06 am

        Thank you, dear Anita, for your sweet and very personal reply. How wonderful that you were able to help your mother move closer to you, in California. That apparently made a tremendous difference in both of your lives. I’m blessed to reconnect with you, but so sad for these tragic circumstances — and it is tragic, that her life was ended by this contagious disease, rather than the normal course of nature. But I have every reason to believe that she had a full life, and that she was very proud of you, something that means the world to a mother. I know you have a loving husband and I think you have fur babies, and you must have good friends, as I see in the comments above, but please feel free to contact me, if you ever want to chat. Sending more love and hugs your way!

  8. So sorry for the loss of your Mother. Thank you for sharing your life and your thoughts. Very well said.

  9. Dear Anita,

    So sorry for the loss of this beautiful and witty woman whom you call “Mom”.
    She has now joined her Creator and will be resting in eternal peace and joy. Your mom Toni will now be guiding and watching you.
    And who knows, maybe just maybe, God and the Angels may be with her on Election Day 2020 to see that the right, truthful leader gets elected this time.
    Love and Prayers for your mom Toni and her caring family …
    Edna Concepcion
    San Diego, CA

  10. Amen. Thanks.

  11. Anita, I am so sorry about the loss of your dear mother to the virus. My thoughts are with you as you grieve. I am with you 100% about everything you’ve written here and will be glad to share your story. Thank you for being a strong voice for what’s right even as you go through this difficult time.

  12. I am a nurse in geriatrics. Everyday I see and hear people dehumanizing the elderly and justifying their deaths for the sake of “the economy” and I am truly appalled. I don’t even recognize this world.

    Five years ago, my widowed mother moved in with me. She is 85. And she is vibrant, relatively healthy, and sharper than most people half of her age. She could easily have many more years ahead of her. How dare anyone say that she is expendable…that anyone’s elder is expendable!

    I am so sorry for your loss, Anita. But I am equally as thankful that you have spoken out on your mother’s behalf. In doing so, you are speaking for us all.

    • Tom, thank you so much for what you shared. I had long seen to my mom’s care and witnessed exactly what you’re talking about when it comes to the elderly: cookie cutter medicine. Doctors look at a chart & see a number, an age and after meeting someone for 5 minutes on their worst day, make a false assumption about the totality of their lives. It’s not a way to practice medicine and our elderly deserve so much more respect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to (figuratively) pound my fists on the desk on my mother’s behalf in the past 15 years. Our society needs to do better.

  13. Ellyn S Says: May 23, 2020 at 8:50 am

    My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful mother with us and your observations during this crisis.

  14. Kathleen Wynne Says: May 23, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Anita,

    I cried when I read your story about losing your Mom. Losing your Mom is probably only second to losing a child. As such, there are just no words to express how sorry I am that you had to lose her this way. She sounds like the kind of wonderful human being that the world needs more of — now more than ever.

    Thank you for sharing your pain with us. It is an important story that must be told now that the country is “reopening” as a reminder to Americans not to become complacent and stop following the CDC recommendations or they too may lose someone as dear to them or worse, be the cause of someone else’s great loss.

    Take care and thank you for this excellent and essential blog!

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