The results were in. Positive for stage three ovarian cancer.
My grandmother had been struggling healthwise for a while, but I never would have expected the results to be this severe. This was in March 2019, far before the looming COVID-19 Pandemic would strike the globe. Like many people, this pandemic frightened me. But what scared me the most was the possibility that I would contract this virus and pass it to my grandmother. Due to chemotherapy, She was now immunocompromised, putting her at risk for severe complications should she contract COVID-19. If I passed it on to her, she may even die. This personal connection colored my experience with the ongoing pandemic, and caused me to isolate myself more than the average teenager. I wouldn’t get into other peoples’ cars or near a crowd. This continued up until I was given the Pfizer vaccine. My entire house family (my mom, dad, and brother) all received our shots as soon as we could. My grandmother and grandfather also received their shots. Finally, I was able to set foot into my grandmother’s home. Finally, I was able to hug her and not fear the worst. This was especially meaningful to me, as I hadn’t been able to do either of these things in over a year.
Yet, there was an issue. My uncle refused to get the vaccine. He was not immunocompromised, or had allergies that prohibited him from receiving it. Neither was he in an area that made it difficult to receive a shot. His politics caused him to believe that the vaccine was evil, a tool created by the liberals to see how much control they could gain over the general population. Even when my father attempted to talk to him, an immunologist who knew the ins-and-outs of COVID-19, he refused. In my opinion, he chose his politics and stubbornness over his own family, his own mother.
This broke my heart. I deeply love my family, and have treasured them my whole life. To see something so obviously beneficial to my grandmother’s safety, the vaccine, be tossed aside for the sake of inaccurate Facebook posts was devastating. I felt betrayed and powerless. I wished there was something I could do, something I could say that would convince him that this is quite literally a life or death situation, but nothing seemed to work. It was as if I was screaming at a brick wall. In my opinion, refusing to get vaccinated, especially when you have immunocompromised people in your family, is one of the most selfish things you can do. My uncle has taken away the safety of my grandmother, as well as the safety of everyone around him. His politics have driven a wedge between him, myself and my grandmother. His refusal to even listen to a different point of view, a scientific point of view, will only continue to deteriorate his relationship with me, and my grandmother. I hope that one day he sees that what he is doing is selfish. I hope that one day he and I can talk and that I can forgive him. But for now, all I can hope is that we will be one of the lucky families, and that no one will be hurt because of his inability to help those most vulnerable like my grandmother.