I asked a friend how her holiday family dinners were and she shared an interesting and to me, sad story. The dinner was being held at her cousin’s home in lieu of it being held at the cousin’s mother’s home as was the usual tradition. The mother and her sister ( my friend’s mom) always shared these traditional dinners together and took turns hosting.
My friend’s mom in her mid 70’s has an autoimmune condition and although fully vaccinated, she has been very careful and had not attended any family events since March 2020. Long story short, the dinner was being hosted at her niece and nephew’s home ( in lieu of her sister’s) and she happily agreed to bring her usual dinner contributions and asked that everyone do a rapid test before getting together. Seder’s have song, story and prayer so she also asked if the family would wear a mask during the Haggadah reading around the table – except of course, while eating. The reply was no.
On the day of the event, she dropped off her food contributions and brought her own rapid tests with her, asking again now face to face- that they do a rapid test. Once again they declined. They gratefully accepted the food she had prepared but would not agree to test or to wear a mask. She left their home truly heartbroken that another year would go by when she would not be able to participate in this traditional family event.
Last evening I shared this story with another friend, who agreed with the niece and nephew that it was the aunt’s decision alone to attend or not and that no fault should be assigned to the hosts.
Such a curious situation how are are now in our own way trying to balance health risk, one’s own beliefs and respect for aging family members. What do you think?