I recently spoke to a cousin who told me that she wasn’t vaccinated. After our phone conversation, my concerns about her being unvaccinated lingered in my mind. I couldn’t let go of my thoughts. I suspected that her decision to avoid getting the vaccine was pretty strong. Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking that I needed to say something. So I decided to send my thoughts in an email. I kept it short. I knew that a longer email might come across as overbearing or preachy.
First, I told her that this had been on my mind since we spoke. I wanted her to know that I wasn’t bringing this up to annoy her or push my opinion on her.
Next, I told her that I respected her right to make her own decision about getting the vaccine and that no one could force her to get one if she didn’t want to. I wouldn’t say I like it when someone tries to force something on me, and I wanted her to know that she was certainly within her rights to stay unvaccinated, even if I felt that was not a good decision.
I Care About You
Then I told my cousin the reason for my concern. I said it in four words: “I care about you.” I told her I didn’t want to see her get sick, wind up in a hospital, and possibly on a ventilator because she was having difficulty breathing. I wanted her to think about the actual risk involved in staying unvaccinated.
Next, I appealed to her sense of compassion and also her need to be responsible. I told her if she didn’t want to get vaccinated for herself, to do it for people she cared about, her relatives or a friend. I told her to do it before she went on vacation and infected someone else or someone else infected her. And I told her finally to do it because it’s the right thing to do.
I knew that she might ignore me, and my words might not change her mind, but I told her I hoped she would reconsider her decision. I did not say, “you must, you should” or “you have to.” I knew words like that would backfire. Instead, I said, “I hope.”
Finally, I asked her to pray and ask God to help her to make the right decision.
I kept the email concise. In nine sentences, I made several points. I told her I respected her right to make her own decision, that I cared about her, and that she could infect someone or someone could infect her without a vaccine. I suggested reasons to get the vaccine, suggested she reconsider her decision, and asked her to pray to God for guidance.
Sharing Our Concerns
A couple of days later, she sent me an email telling me she would get tested for antibodies. I don’t know the outcome of her test nor whether the outcome will change anything for her. I don’t know if my email had or will have any effect on her. Will she get the vaccine? I don’t know, but at least I attempted to let her know my concern.
I think we owe it to the people we love and care about to let them know of our concerns. At this time, more than four million people worldwide have died of COVID-19, and more than 600,000 have died in the U.S. New variants of the virus are circulating and infecting people. The numbers of new cases and deaths are climbing, and hospitals are filling up again. Shouldn’t each of us do whatever we can to try and protect ourselves and each other and keep each other safe? Talk to someone you love. Your words might save a life.
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Maddy Thompson writes from Northern California.© 2002 - 2022, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.