I’m tired of having to justify my mother's death, a letter to Donald Trump
Before I start this letter, I feel the need to preface this with the confirmation that nothing in this letter is politically motivated. Before COVID, I was a registered Republican; since the pandemic, I have no party affiliation. I do not have an agenda; I don’t care about politics. I treat everyone the same. I’m not naive; I know just as bad as one side of the aisle underplays the seriousness of COVID. The other side is overplaying it out of spite, and I know both sides don’t truly care, pretty much no one cares, and that’s the problem. You’ve already made up your mind, and when you read the title of this article, your mind was made up on how you were going to perceive it — for good and for bad. This letter won’t accomplish anything but almost a year after losing my mother, I’m still battling with her sudden loss; this letter helps me move forward.
Dear President Trump,
You don’t know me, and you probably don’t care to know me. My mother was 63-years-old on April 6, 2020, when she became one of the now 516,000+ victims of COVID-19. During that time, you were president; you were the voice of the COVID response. You have probably one of the most loyal following of some rational and mostly irrational people that I’ve ever seen. Hey, I’m jealous. I wish my comedy had an ounce of that loyalty. I’m sure other politicians wish their supporters were that loyal. Why wouldn’t anyone be jealous? But here’s the problem when you have such a blind loyal group of followers, you set the tone. They’ll follow your tone to the end, regardless of facts, feelings, and care. So since April 6, 2020, anytime I spoke to someone about my mothers’ death, I found myself justifying why she died to them. I’m tired of doing it, and in reality, it’s due to the stance you took on this virus while you were at the helm.
On March 24, you said: “We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don’t turn the country off,” Trump said from the Rose Garden. “And actually, this year we’re having a bad flu season. But we lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We never turn the country off. We lose much more than that to automobile accidents,” but then on March 31, you said, “…think of it as the flu.’ But it’s not the flu. It’s vicious.” Here’s the thing, people hooked onto the March 24 quote and totally ignored the March 31 quote. I believe you know that most of your followers won’t listen to the corrections but only listen to the initial statements. I can’t tell you how many times I’m scrolling through social media, and I still see one of my conservative friends sharing memes, articles, or statuses comparing COVID to the flu or even asking why the flu “disappeared.” Even though there’s a completely logical reason why no one is really getting the flu.
As a kid, it was popular to play the game “21 Questions,” and that’s what happens every time I speak to someone about my mother dying from COVID. It always starts the same “Was she old? Did she have underlying conditions? Was she someone who didn’t take care of herself? Where did she get it from? How was the funeral? Did you get to say bye?” I should just start carrying a pamphlet of FAQs to hand people right after I’ve told them I lost my mother to COVID. Those first 2 questions usually show me where people stand with the virus, and some of it comes from your “it affects virtually nobody” quote. She wasn’t nobody; she was my world. I could only imagine how people would be received if they took the same approach to families who lost someone in a terrorist attack.
I remember the days my mother was on the ventilator, I’d watch all the press briefings, and there was one thing that always stuck out, you were always downplaying this virus, and rather than talking about victims, you spoke of the economy. You spoke about finance; it was mind-boggling to me how someone could just over-look the people losing their lives and concentrate on the economy. I had to sit there and watch people argue over politics about a virus all while my life was crumbling at a hospital in Brooklyn that I couldn’t go to.
COVID should have never been a political issue; it shouldn’t have been that if you wear a mask, you’re a liberal, and if you’re not wearing a mask, you’re a conservative. Why did it become that way? Because on April 3, 2020, you said, “It’s going to be, really, a voluntary thing. You can do it. You don’t have to do it. I’m choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it, and that’s OK. It may be good. Probably will. They’re making a recommendation. It’s only a recommendation.” The key phrase in this quote was that you said you weren’t going to do it, and all those times you chose to have unmasked events, you set the tone; your followers were now against masks. From that point forward, I had to have people message me on Instagram when I posted a picture of my kids doing something, and they were wearing a mask at the time, saying “The sign that you’re a sheep” or people commenting about kids needing to wear masks that they weren’t going to “muzzle their kids” and what did these people have in common they had your name plastered on their profiles because they were “patriots.” A mask isn’t a political sign. If you wear a mask, you’re not a sheep. If the people in my mother’s office were wearing masks in March 2020 when an infected person came to work, who knows, it might have saved her, but here’s the thing. If you knew a mask could POSSIBLY save somebody you love, wouldn’t you do it? I always tell people if I knew a mask would have saved my mother back then, I would have walked around and duct-taped a mask on everyone who was near her.
I have family members and close friends who are some of your most loyal followers, people who have shed tears for my mother still sharing and pontificating the misinformation that came through your channels. I come from a place of logic. I don’t believe someone just because of what I think of them; it has to make sense; it has to be factual. I’m constantly being berated with illogical comments that stem from a place of “Trump-ism.” I have people on Facebook constantly sharing the phrases about this virus or the vaccine that diminish its severity, and they all share pictures of you and your quotes after them too. I rarely ever delete people on social media; an entire lifetime of being made fun of by almost everyone in your life because of being overweight thickens your skin, but it’s exhausting; even though I purposely do not engage with any of it, its still something I deal with in my own head.
While everyone is out there fighting politics, the families of the victims are mourning in silence because our loved ones aren’t important enough to be considered the main talking points for anybody. Trust me, I know President Biden is talking about us so much because you talked about us so little. I know the game; I’m not an idiot. The fact that it is a game at all is the true shame.
I hate you, Mr. Trump, and none of that hate has anything to do with your politics; it has everything to do with how you presented this virus to the country and how your followers treat the death of my mother, my grandmother — and the deaths of the 516,000+ victims of this virus because your followers believe they’re representing you, and you never corrected them.
People like to tout that COVID has a 98% survival rate to justify their stance; that stat means nothing when your entire heart falls in the 2%.
A Broken-Hearted Son