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I lost my dad, Bob Dahl, to COVID-19 on November 21, 2020. He contracted COVID-19 in a skilled rehab facility where he was recovering from hip surgery. We found out he was positive only on November 15 when he had to take a COVID-19 test to enter the nursing facility he was supposed to transition to for longer-term rehabilitation. We were not allowed to see my dad once he tested positive—neither in rehab nor the nursing home or even during his transfer. We felt kept in the dark about what was going on with him and how he was doing. I could only imagine whether my dad felt as helpless as we did. It still breaks my heart to say that he died alone just three days after arriving at the nursing facility and five days before Thanksgiving (his favorite holiday). While some of you may have been cooking turkey and eating stuffing for Thanksgiving, my family spent our holiday collecting my dad’s ashes. My family suffered in silence, unable to have a funeral or grieve with others. The collective grief of 2020 was magnified when your loved one died in a pandemic from the virus that caused it. The trauma was lived out over and over again each time you heard about COVID-19 in the news or learned about friends and family contracting the virus, trying to show up for life each day with the fear that you might again lose another. Please do not forget all that you, your families, and the nation have endured so that we may never have to live through this extended tragedy again.

Paris Astrid (Georgia)

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