Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I hope you are all doing well, or as close to well as possible given the circumstances. The pandemic is not over yet, but we have come a long way from where we were this time last year.
Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends. One of the many cruel aspects of the pandemic has been that it prevented us from being able to see one another safely for far too long. Even now, with the benefit of vaccines, we are not quite back to normal, but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Humans are social creatures. It is not in our nature to be separated for so long. Video conferencing, although a wonderful technology, does not substitute for a hug or for sitting at the dinner table surrounded by good company.
This year, I have a lot to be thankful for. My family is healthy, finally. This time last year, it was a different case. My mom was in and out of the hospital for non-COVID related reasons, and in between her second and third hospital stay, both my parents came down with the virus. The third time, she was at the COVID ward at Yale-New Haven hospital for more than two weeks. Meanwhile, dad was home sick, unable to eat. Somehow I never tested positive, which was a great relief to my parents. But I was a nervous, anxious wreck. I barely slept. Around the same time, other members of my extended family came down with COVID, and several were hospitalized. The entire month of December was spent keeping tabs on everyone from afar, hoping for the best, and praying. So much praying.
Somehow, miraculously, everyone pulled through, although the recovery was long and arduous for many in my family. It was a season of hardship, but I can’t help but feel grateful at the outcome ultimately. It is not lost on me how lucky we are. But it made me realize just how fragile life is, and that our health and well-being is not to be taken for granted.
It never really felt like the holidays last year. My mom came home from the hospital a few days before Christmas, and none of us had the energy to put up the tree or buy any gifts. But as I told her, and continue to tell her, she was my Christmas gift. (Well, her and a sock full of candy.)
This year, I am looking forward to the holidays. I am grateful for the company of my parents and for their health. There is a little part of my mind that is still anxious (after last year it’s hard not to be), but I am trying to enjoy the moment and be grateful for what we still have. The Christmas tree is already up, along with the lights, because who cares anymore if Christmas and Thanksgiving overlap?
It is always important to count your blessings, but it is even more important in a time of great suffering and turmoil.
Here’s hoping for a mundane, drama-free holiday season. Wishing you all health and happiness and cheerful conversations at the dinner table.