Who knew that something like a pandemic would also bring a surge in conspiracy theories? We have known there are the conspiracy theorists among us, but the pandemic caused a more extreme uprising and almost migration of types. I found myself cut off from many of them, because I spewed science and public health information as it came across my awareness.

The most hurtful came from my brother’s new wife. I knew she was anti-vaccines. In the past, we had many conversations around vaccines. And we had reached an understanding. But I didn’t know they were QAnon, until suddenly I found myself hearing about Pizzagate (really? In 2020?). As I spoke out for BLM and they held a hand up saying “human trafficking,” avoiding conversations altogether, I put the pieces together. I wrote postcards and advocated for voting rights, while they called all Democrats pedophiles.

The biggest blow was the day I got blocked on all social media, and my phone calls went unanswered. I went from seeing my niece, who is a year and a half, once a week, to seeing her never. There’s another baby on the way. I may never find out the name, birthday, gender, or face.

I’m grieving for relationships lost. I made a stand, foolishly thinking that my family would love and accept me, and I was wrong. My brother makes a half-hearted effort, but still won’t speak of his daughter or wife. Will we ever be together again?

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