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Gratitude, kindness and knowing when to be thankful

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

After a year of generally isolated holidays, with many of us keeping Thanksgiving to a small celebration, if that, in 2020, this year should feel very different for us in the Tristate region. That is, of course, if we are vaccinated and boostered as necessary. There are also families who are hosting larger Thanksgiving meals again who are requesting COVID testing pre-event. Not a bad idea, vaccinated or not.

Can we agree that another thing to be very grateful for this Thanksgiving is that very thing: vaccinations? As noted here before, without vaccinations our lives at this moment would be very different.

Yet, let’s also remember our neighbors at Geer nursing facility in North Canaan, who  have suffered heartwrenching losses and repercussions from COVID’s delta variant during the devastating outbreak there that took the lives of eight patients, and involved 67 residents and 22 staff since Sept. 30, as reported by Debra Aleksinas in last week’s Lakeville Journal, as well as two in-depth front page articles on this Nov. 4.

The outbreak, according to Geer CEO Kevin O’Connell, seems to have turned a corner now, with all but three of the surviving 59 residents, and all of the 22 staff members, now recovered. In a Nov. 16 letter to staff, residents and family members, O’Connell wrote: “We are relieved to report no new cases of COVID-19 have been identified since last Monday, 11/8/21. The positive case that was reported in the last update (11/12) turned out to be a false positive, confirmed after 2 negative PCR tests.  We are also happy to report only 3 active cases remain within the building. As stated in our previous updates this outbreak is contained within the nursing home, Geer Lodge remains unaffected. We continue to complete testing on our residents and staff bi-weekly.”

But what a time of intense hardship and suffering for all those at Geer, where the sense of family and mutual support is so strong even in normal times. Such a resurgence of the pandemic, and a deadly one, must have had a profound effect on those living, working or worrying about a family member at Geer.

We in the community are now thinking of all at Geer, knowing how courageously they’ve faced COVID-19 and its variants since March 2020. Their efforts to keep their facility safe were relatively successful until Sept. 30, when the battle at the nursing facility took the wrong turn, the one nobody wished for. Now they have worked through it, and were successful in containing the spread to the nursing facility only, rather than the rest of the Geer campus or the community. That took vigilance on their parts, and it is another reason to be grateful. We wish them a peaceful and healthier Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving, let’s all find charity and humility in our hearts and share it with our neighbors, families and friends, however we are gathering this holiday. The more we try to understand the hardship others are going through and use kindness instead of judgment to help them through it, the more we will appreciate those things in our own lives for which we can be grateful this year.

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