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Long Island mom grateful for acts of kindness

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managed wordpress hostingLong Island mom grateful for acts of kindness 1

Long Island mom Diana Berrent, 45, tested positive last week for the coronavirus. Today, she opens up about the acts of kindness from friends, neighbors, politicians and even actors that have helped her through 12 days of isolation.

I cut out a quote recently and taped it to my computer. It says “kindness is an act of courage.” Little did I know it then, but never has it seemed so relevant. So many friends and strangers alike have reached out with acts of kindness, both large and small and each has been an incredible source of light during these otherwise bleak times.

I never would have secured my initial test for COVID-19 had it not been for the friends and friends of friends and everyone else who made my Facebook post go viral (yes … pun intended). That post made it to my congressman, Rep. Tom Suozzi, who reached out immediately to intervene and make sure I got tested (this was when schools were still open, business were still open and there was a very relevant need to report — times have changed quickly).

Neighbors dropped off a thermometer when the only ones available in the stores were the basal kind that max out at 101 and my fever was spiking higher than the thermometer could display. A woman in my neighborhood didn’t ask if I wanted or needed a lasagna — she just made it and brought it and left it at my doorstep and it fed my family for days. (Recall that I got sick before I could join in with everyone else on the stocking of freezers and cupboards).

A sign in Diana Berrent's hometown of Port Washington
A sign in Diana Berrent’s hometown of Port WashingtonCourtesy of Diana Berrent

Some of the highest and lowest moments of my life were graced with the comfort of hearing the cantor at my synagogue sing her beautiful and soulful rendition of “Hallelujah.” Knowing that, Cantor Franco recorded herself singing my favorite song and sent it to me so I could listen to it on repeat, which I have. I listen to it over and over again, and it brings me peace every time.

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Just today, in the most random act of kindness of which I’ve ever been the beneficiary, the actor Joe Gannascoli who played Vito on “The Sopranos” (and whom I’ve never met), told me he would be bringing a full meal to our family tonight from Vincent’s Clam Bar! (I’ve lost a fair amount of weight through this ordeal, and this seems like just the perfect first step to packing it back on!).

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After nights of not being able to sleep, I finally resorted to asking my doctor to call in a prescription for medicine to get me a full night’s rest. The only hitch was that I couldn’t pick it up and controlled substances can’t be sent through the mail. I couldn’t, in good conscience, ask anyone to leave their home on my behalf, while we are under order to shelter in place. Realizing I was in a pickle, my local pharmacist, Jason, personally dropped the medicine off at my house last night to ensure I would be comfortable.

These are all acts of kindness and compassion directed to me and my family, but there have been community-wide gestures of kindness and light as well. Our locally owned printing company, Chief Graphix, made inspirational signs and hung them all around Port Washington, with sayings like “This Too Shall Pass” and “The Sun Will Rise Again,” all bearing the hashtag #portstrong. (For the record, I’m outing them on their generosity of spirit; it was done anonymously).

Diana Berrent in her wedding dress
Diana Berrent in her wedding dressCourtesy of Diana Berrent

A group of women in my town have taken to popularizing the hashtag #getyourdresson and live their most mediocre quarantine lives dressed, hilariously, in their wedding dresses. Each time I see one of those photos I smile. So, for just a couple of minutes yesterday, I donned mine as well.

Don’t ask a friend if they need help. Just think up something, anything, that might do the trick. A song recorded in your closet, a quick note of solidarity and friendship. We need each other now more than ever. And, don’t worry, I’ll be paying it forward — big time.

In the meantime, act as if you are already infected and every person you infect is either your best friend of your grandma. Stay at home!

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