Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Inside the chapel, while waiting for the bride, I got chatting with another guest, who disclosed to me that she hadn't been vaccinated for COVID.
If you've read any of my posts about COVID, you'll know that I'm pro-vax and I've been an early adopter of physical distancing from way before anyone I know.
So, you can imagine that I was taken aback by this disclosure. There was no physical distancing or wearing of face masks in evidence (that's our current "new normal"), and I was lost for words.
But, here was a great opportunity for me to learn about her reasoning, and understand where she was coming from. So, without totally identifying her, I'll try to give you some details of her back story.
This lovely young lady is a mum and a wife. Her hubby works, and so does she. But when her employer mandated COVID vaccination for all staff, she decided to give up her job.
That's a serious sacrifice!
If you were to list the things for which you'd give up your job, would a vaccination mandate make your list?
I was told that she did it for her kids, to set a precedent, so they wouldn't ever feel pushed into doing something against their reasoning.
At about this point in the conversation, the bride arrived, looking spectacular. Utterly, spectacular!
Later, this conversation got me thinking, especially with regard to the other guests at the table, and the lady's children.
Now, as much as I affirm my right to choose to be fully vaccinated, I also affirm her right to choose to be fully unvaccinated.
But, I wondered about the guest who had recently been treated for cancer, whose immunity might still be compromised.
I wondered about her family, and what would happen if she ended up in ICU with COVID.
I wondered how the single full time dad in her neighbourhood would feel, knowing his kids were playing football with unvaccinated playmates.
As much as my thoughts wandered toward catastrophising, another more logical part of my brain 🧠 interjected. Let's call that region "Dr Logic".
Dr Logic, who also rules all my COVID related decisions and behaviours, suggested to me, that all these things I was wondering, were possibilities. They weren't probabilities. They weren't eventualities.
They weren't certainties.
The person who had beaten cancer was a grown up, and had weighed the risks against the joys of seeing a loved one tie the knot.
The single dad in her neighbourhood probably had correspondence from the football club, that discussed vaccination and risks of playing.
And this mum had done her homework too. She didn't take her decision lightly. I approached her about this post, and her reply was articulate and measured, and she kindly gave me permission to share it here:
" ... trying to raise kids to think for themselves, make their own informed decisions and to stand for what they believe in. I will simply not work for an organisation that blanket mandates and fails to acknowledge people's individual circumstance. The commissioner or any politician has no right in my mind to mandate a WHS measure that I need to take home with me and I have chosen not to be part of a group or workforce that participates in segregation, coercion, manipulation or discrimination with regards to this matter. I reserve the right to make my own medical decisions and those medical decisions are protected under privacy legislation. I hope that my kids will not have to live in a world that requires them to make a medical decision against their wishes for the purpose of "attending work".."
I suppose I realised that COVID has made me think a little too overwhelmingly. And I knew that this young woman with whom I spoke at the wedding, was an intelligent, caring and thoughtful human being.
She had weighed up the risks with which her sacrifice would relate, and she made as conscious and mature a decision not to vaccinate as my own decision in the opposite direction. And, wow! She made some great points that I hadn't acknowledged. I am a privacy nut, especially with regard to medical privacy. And, well, she is right!
And, FYI, I'm proud to say this young woman is one of my beautiful nieces.
It really is easy to catastrophise, especially when we don't know all the details. But it's also easy to look for different explanations and ask other people for their viewpoints.
After first publishing this post, I discovered a number of other guests went home from the wedding reception unwell ... and tested positive for COVID. There had been lots of hugs that night, and I still worried about those with COVID, and those who were at risk ... and being unvaccinated put my dear niece in that category.
The world can be a complex place, an overwhelming place even, if that's what we think it is. Or, we can think that it's simply a kaleidoscope that we can appreciate and navigate, by taking a slightly different view.
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