For some of us, the inability to gather this Christmas will be extremely painful. For others — it might be a relief. Everyone knows most Christmases include mixed emotions regarding interactions with extended family. We are never quite as picture-perfect as our Christmas cards portray us to be.
The faces around our Christmas trees are different in 2020. Many are missing. And sadly, not all will be returning to us in Christmas Futures. This year not only are we dealing with the leftover emotional baggage from all our Christmas Pasts, but the pandemic may have taken loved ones from us as well.
We face our Christmas Present with grief for All. The. Losses. We have lost Humans to COVID. If you are among the lucky few that have not had this pain land on your doorstep — you are blessed indeed. I fear most of us will be called upon to sacrifice a loved one on the pandemic’s altar. Our Humans die alone. Without the comfort of hands and voices who knew them best. They die and may even be laid to rest with no opportunity for good-byes.
There are other losses we face as well. The emotionally charged climate of the last few years has cost us relationships. Disagreements so potent — close friendships are severed. The fractures are compound and unbindable. What is broken may never have the ability to be mended.
And then along comes Christmas. And rising COVID cases/deaths in numbers too high for us to comprehend. Hospitals reaching capacity all over the country — not just hot spots. The entirety of The United States is a hot spot. Souls we love — souls who will not be able to join us this year. Because we all need to be safe. And the only way to ensure this is for us to love each other enough to stay apart.
There is no closure for any of these situations of loss. We will have to learn to deal with that. We will have to find our way through without the usual rituals and gatherings from The Before Days. And we will.
We have already begun.
Our society is changing so rapidly — on every level. Our education system is changing. Our healthcare system is changing. Our economic system is changing. Our workplace environment is changing. Our traditions will also be forced to transform with the times.
Closure comes with acceptance. Of All. The. Things. This is our life now. And for me — I will not chase after the impossible — answers to unanswerable questions.
Instead, I will be grateful for what remains.
Addendum — 12/20/2020: After I wrote this piece, My Friend — The Irishman — lost his battle with COVID. As I re-read it the day before it’s scheduled to post, this speaks to my heart in a very, very personal way. There were no good-byes to our 48-year long relationship. There is just what is.
May all of us left behind find peace and take comfort in the love we were blessed with. And may the souls we have lost find rest.