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Experts: Saying no to Thanksgiving can be a gesture of love

"It's an act of love out of you."
Posted at 5:59 PM, Nov 18, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Spread thanks, not COVID. That’s Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Thanksgiving message. Governor Cuomo predicts Thanksgiving gatherings will fuel a massive spike in COVID cases if celebrated normally. How do you tell your loved ones you will be opting out of the celebration this year?

“I have a conversation with my mother about Thanksgiving, several conversations about Thanksgiving. [She said] ‘We have to get together for Thanksgiving.’ Mom, we can't get together for Thanksgiving,” Governor Cuomo said.

Governor Cuomo said New Yorkers must limit family gatherings on the holiday to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“When you really look at the pros and cons, is there really anything that's worth risking someone's life over? Or carrying the guilt knowing that you may have harmed somebody and been responsible for their death?” Maureen Ryan, a nurse practitioner, said.

But how do you tell your grandma, grandpa or other loved ones that Thanksgiving can’t happen like it normally does this year without causing tension?

“I would say 'Grandma, I know you would risk it all, but long after you're gone I will have to carry on the burden that if you passed away, I will have to live with that. So this is a selfish decision,’” Aaron Rosenbaum, a licensed clinical social worker, said.

“Because of your decision, someone may end up on a ventilator and can not get off. And then think about it even further, that person who is on the ventilator in the hospital is alone. There's no family coming in,” Ryan said.

Experts say, in the end, saying no to Thanksgiving can be a gesture of love.

“Please understand this is about my love for you. It’s not about my not being able to see you,” Rosenbaum said, “It's an act of love out of you. Even though your act of love would be sacrifice, my act of love would be not sacrificing you… I kind of want to see you next year. I want to see you the year after that. To be honest with you, if I do this, I'm afraid I won't be able to see you and you bring such joy to me.”