The Holidays Mean A Little Bit More This Year

When I stood in line for my booster, I was reminded of the hope I had the last time I walked the halls of this community center – the elation I felt at the prospect of seeing and spending time with loved ones again without fear of death. 

After my brother’s short-term visit last November, I didn’t see another friendly face for three months. I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s alone. And while I created coping mechanisms and relied on a community of support virtually, that isolation had serious ramifications for my mental health – some of which I am probably still processing. 

One of those community members who helped me through it was my 89-year-old Papaw, who’d recently discovered the wonders of gifs, emojis, and text (and who surprisingly shared a similar love of ABBA). He lost his life to COVID in September. So, as I approach this holiday season, it is hard to reconcile another winter without him. 

I Have a Dream

The difference is now I am not alone. I am taking small risks because I feel safer, and I trust the people in my inner circle. Sometimes those small risks are bigger risks with strangers (even re-entering the world of online dating), but I take precautions. I’m still wearing a mask indoors. And for the most part, I feel okay. 

I know that I am lucky that I have survived this long without a real COVID scare. I certainly witnessed loved ones endure it, and it is scary. And I know I am privileged in that I can still access the life-saving supplies I need to manage my diabetes. I can work from home and limit social interactions. I have no one to care for but myself and a cat who now has more chronic conditions than I do. 

And I worry about that loneliness going into this winter. I never felt FOMO throughout the worst of the pandemic, but as more people take risks, the more I feel left behind. But I also acknowledge that I have a chronic condition that puts me at greater risk, and I have to do what I am most comfortable with. That is something we have all learned from this past year. 

Knowing Me, Knowing You

But as much as I yearn to start over sometimes (because I feel stagnant and the excitement in life is limited, the spontaneity I once reveled in almost non-existent), I also know that I am lucky to have such an incredible community of support. It is more essential to survival than I ever realized. There has been loss this past year in more ways than one. 

After I got my booster, I cried – not tears of joy this time but tears of sadness – for the losses endured. And even though my Papaw is no longer here, I know he would want me to be happy, as happy as I can be in this current state of things. And he would take comfort in the fact that I am not spending Thanksgiving and Christmas alone this year (I may keep New Year’s for myself, after all). 

I may not have followed the traditional path of womanhood as many in my sphere of influence did, but I am loved. And sometimes, that is enough. 

6 thoughts on “The Holidays Mean A Little Bit More This Year

  1. I have seen the toll Covid has taken on so many and I am sad and sorry that you have had an extra burden to carry, first with being part of the at risk population and second with losing a loved one. The effects of Covid on Anxiety and Depression was my project for my most recent masters. I saw the effects of the strain on my patients. I have missed seeing your posts but more I have missed seeing you. Hopefully, one day soon, we can get together again. Love you like a daughter……

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sharon. Appreciate that. ❤️ your support and love has def helped. And that sounds like an important and impactful masters project. Hope to read more about it some day. And definitely! Will keep you posted when I make it back to your side of the river. Much love and hugs – Tracy

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