“Hurt, Angry, Sad and Lost”: Colorado Residents Suffer Thanksgiving Pandemic
The rich incense of golden meats, bubbling casseroles and baked goods is Loa Esquiline’s favorite for the favorite Thanksgiving function, but the holiday scent will smell slightly less sweet this year as Esquiline celebrates solo in hope. to keep loved ones virus-free.
“Believe it or not, the day is not about food for me,” she said. “It’s the smells. It reminds of family, warmth and childhood.
Esquilin, 36, leads outreach for the Denver Emergency Management Office, so she knows all too well the importance of following public health advice this year, even though she longs for a vacation spent surrounded by loved ones. and laughs.
Centers for Disease Control urged Americans not to come together outside their homes for turkey-filled festivities due to the risk of the highly contagious novel coronavirus spreading. the state health ministry asked the Coloradans keep the Thanksgiving fuss in their immediate homes like overwhelming cases of COVID-19 cause hospitals facing staff shortages and achieve intensive care capacity. AAA expected the biggest annual drop in Thanksgiving travel to Colorado since the Great Recession, projecting 897,000 travelers about two weeks ago, which is expected to decline as potential travelers monitor the public health landscape.
Thanksgiving tables will certainly look more sparse this year with the Coloradans ditching planes, trains and automobiles in the middle of a statewide pandemic outbreak. For some, staying at home can lead to a feeling of isolation. Others may turn to technology or handouts to ease lingering loneliness.
The undeniably shifted holiday year is an opportunity for Americans to sacrifice a good time for the greater good with the lessons from the original Thanksgiving looming above us all: Aliens rounding up and infecting Native Americans with deadly diseases does not necessarily have to be a repeated theme.
“It’s not worth the shot”
Esquiline made the heartbreaking decision to stay home alone for Thanksgiving after consulting with her Denver family, the Lovett’s. Puerto Rico is Esquiline’s home, but when she can’t make the trip to see her father and extended family, the Lovett family, whom she met at the gym a few years ago, still welcome her.
“With me being so alone in Denver, having a basic family to spend the vacations on has always been very important to me,” Esquilin said. “Every year we get together, have good meals, everyone brings a dish and there is holiday music, games, lots of wine. We really feel at home. This year, as a family, we discussed and decided to cancel Thanksgiving. It was a very, very difficult decision. “
To cheer him up, Esquiline will fill his home with the scent of food, Puerto Rico. She plans to roast a pork, cook rice, a macaroni salad and other delicacies that remind her and her nose of better times.
Esquilin will be making video calls with his family in Puerto Rico and then with his family in Colorado, making sure to watch the Lovett family’s legendary mashed potatoes and possibly a game of cards. When Esquiline goes offline, calm settling in her home, she plans to eat and pray that others will make the same sacrifice to help save lives.
“It’s really tough, but I’ve already lost friends to COVID,” Esquilin said. “When I think about breaking the rules, I just think ‘it’s not worth it’.”
“The right thing to do”
Allen Cowgill’s 70-year-old father is a cancer survivor. Cowgill doesn’t want preventable neglect over dinner to put his father’s health at risk.
That’s why Cowgill, his wife, and their two young children have opted for an alternative Thanksgiving this year. The crew picked up turkey sandwiches from Panera Bread in early November when the weather was unusually warm, laid out blankets about 25 feet away in Cowgill’s father’s yard in Lakewood, and dined al fresco. They wore masks when not eating, kept a distance, and could still gobble turkey in each other’s company.
“Years from now I want to be able to tell my children that our family has done everything in our power to be part of the solution, not only to keep our family safe, but also to keep our neighbors from getting sick. Cowgill said. “We all want to be around a table together. It was sad that it was our Thanksgiving, but it seemed like the right thing to do.
As a silver lining, Cowgill hopes to use Thanksgiving Day to make video calls with family members across the country who he normally doesn’t have time to spend the holidays with.
“Unknown in the middle of nowhere”
The bright side of Cooper Barnard-Mayers: The Denver vegetarian won’t be around a turkey this Thanksgiving.
The 24-year-old moved to Denver shortly before the pandemic hit. She has since found herself working remotely as a social media coordinator in a city she hasn’t had the chance to explore due to COVID-19.
“I’m a stranger in the middle of nowhere,” Barnard-Mayers said.
Long ago, Thanksgiving meant getting together in the tiny Vermont village of Barnard-Mayers with family and friends, sharing potlucks, childhood memories, and the annual trotting turkey race. This year, Barnard-Mayers parents gave her a Whole Foods gift card so she can choose her own Thanksgiving adventure.
“My specialty is normally breakfast foods, so we’ll see how that goes,” Barnard-Mayers said. “I’m probably just going to buy something awesome and vegetarian to try and make the day a little special, but I’m going to be FaceTiming different members of my family every hour.
“It’s depressing,” Barnard-Mayers said of spending the holidays alone. “I don’t think people who have roommates or who live with their families understand how intense the isolation is when you live alone this year. What I love about Denver is all the opportunities to get outside. At least I don’t feel isolated from the natural world.
June Gruber, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, said the pandemic has posed unique and lasting stressors for many, including vacation loneliness. However, the science of happiness can help, Gruber said.
Cultivating moments of gratitude for others can keep us connected to them and boost our own positive emotions, physical health, and long-term psychological functioning, Gruber said.
“Consider taking a moment each day to remind yourself of who you’re grateful for in your life and why, even if you can’t be physically close to them while on vacation,” Gruber said.
Still, it’s important that people accept their emotions as they are, Gruber said.
“Feeling upset, alone and frustrated is a normative response to the uncertain world we find ourselves in,” said Gruber. “Don’t expect or feel distressed if you’re not too cheerful. Know that your emotions keep you in touch with this unusual world.
Support six feet apart
Taj Cooke’s spirit thrives on overcoming isolation and building community – a feat made extremely difficult in the COVID-19 era where social distancing reigns supreme.
The Denver chef thrives on preparing and sharing his food with others, especially those in need. Last year, Cooke cooked over 500 meals with the help of donations, other chefs and volunteers, and this year he’s planning to more than double.
Cooke said he has known about the struggle since his turbulent childhood, where he faced homelessness, loneliness and juvenile detention centers. When the pandemic hit, Biju’s Little Curry Shop – where Cooke was recently hired as a chef – closed.
“People have lost their jobs, their homes,” Cooke said. “It’s crazy. I was one of those people for a while until I was able to get back on my feet in a certain way. I know the pain. People right now are hurt, angry, sad and lost Reaching out to our neighbors and giving them a hot meal, letting them know that somebody doesn’t care, that’s what’s important.
With the help of countless sponsors, donations and volunteers, Cooke will spend Thanksgiving canning the food his team has prepared throughout the week and sending it to various homeless shelters, ministries and victims of the Is annoying fire.
It’s been a tough year for Cooke and others in the food scene as the pandemic has wreaked havoc on restaurants and small business owners, but serving those less fortunate with the help of loved ones is fulfilling. Cooke’s heart in a way not even the virus can thwart.
“As humans, if we know we have support, we can find the strength to move forward,” Cooke said. “Right now, we all need to put our hands on our neighbor’s shoulder – even if you are six feet apart – to let them know that you are there to help them. “