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The New York Times released this gut-wrenching statement recently: “The virus death toll in the U.S has passed 400,000.”  For over ten months now, we have been wearing masks, sanitizing, washing our hands, and unfortunately have had to grieve the loss of numerous Americans.  Not only are those we have lost are citizens, but they also family members, friends, colleagues, and other loved ones that play crucial roles in our lives.  

Due to the poor management of the handling and curtailing the rapid spread of the virus, my grandfather, Joseph Mastromarino, passed away. The anger and resentment one receives from having a loved one ripped away from them too soon because their sudden passing could’ve been avoided if the issue at hand had been assessed when it first began is unspeakable. The pain I carry in my heart is indescribable, along with the anger I have for those that believe the global pandemic is a hoax. How does one become so ignorant and selfish that they do not care that families are losing their loved ones? How does one have such little compassion that they view wearing a mask as oppression? Reading from The New York Times that there are 400,000 individuals that have left their families and loved ones behind just churned my stomach upside down.   

Grieving during a pandemic is nothing like any pain I’ve ever experienced in my life.  My grandfather, a decorated veteran, was not able to have his family properly honor him and his memory with a celebration of his life and service.  My grandfather had so much abundant pride in a country that ultimately failed him.  I know there are many stories from others who have faced the same unfortunate experiences, but it shouldn’t be that way.  Ironically, the grieving process during a pandemic feels so lonely.  

Throughout this whole pandemic, I have done my best to be empathetic of other’s situations and to follow all the guidelines and restrictions set in place. However, I feel like many would agree that those doing the right thing are having their work almost reversed by those that are unwilling to comply. When will there be enough deaths that people open their eyes and not only realize the severity of the situation, but realize that without following the guidelines, we will continue to lose more and more people?  

My heart continues to ache for not only my own family, but for all the others who have lost loved ones during this already difficult time.   

    

              

 

Madison Mastromarino is a 20 year old student at Monmouth University from Wildwood, New Jersey. Madison is currently working towards a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a minor in Social Work. Her educational background includes an Associate's Degree in Psychology from Atlantic Cape Community College. Madison enjoys attending concerts and has aspirations to travel the world.
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