Dear ones, I send this out to you with the hope that you are well and taking good care of yourself. So many have endured such pain this year that our collective weeping would surely shake the planet.
I've lost three loved ones this year; none of them to the virus but shocking and sad nevertheless. Not since the 1980s when AIDS was at its height, have I had this shell-shocked feeling of watching life after life pass away. That gut grinding feeling that the world is surely coming to an end.
I know others who have lost loved ones this year as well, and I see the pain in their eyes, peering out above their masks. If ever there was a time we needed to hold one another, this is it. But we can't. That natural instinct for me to reach out and hug has had to be squelched. It's been hard. I've learned to cross my arms and grab my shoulders and give myself that much needed hug. It actually works! Try it!
I read Anne Lammot for non-sugary uplift and hope. I watch endless nature and science shows and of course pure escapist action and thriller movies.
I am grateful for my family, oh so much. My 3 year old grand daughter painted a small tree ornament (a reindeer) for me this Christmas, and I will treasure it always. I dream of showing it to her when she is 2o and will probably have forgotten all about it.
I am also grateful for my friends, with whom I see on Zoom and FaceTime. Never before have I appreciated this technology so much. Even my 88 year old dad has mastered the Zoom, so the whole family can get together with him and our 85 year old mom who are locked down in a small apartment in a retirement community.
I love that I've met a new friend in my neighborhood whom I like very much and the feeling is mutual. She's a newbie to Colorado also and when the pandemic is over we want to do road trips and camping. In the meantime, we manage some small walks (masked and distanced of course) and catch-up sessions on the front porch when it isn't too cold. She feels like an old buddy -- the best kind.
Oh. I do not forget my warm, funny, and easy-going chihuahua, Luz. Luz and I are together and spend our days and nights close. She enjoys riding in the car, which gets me out even when i don't feel like it. At night, she pushes her 5 pound body against my stomach, thigh, or bottom for maximum warmth. This would have been a much lonier year without her companionship.
No doubt you have been overwhelmed with the chatter of news programs, both on the radio and the television. Can we undo this 24 hour news cycle we've dug ourselves into? Only by selectively tuning in, and conversely, tuning out. I've done a lot of tuning out these days.
For those still able to work outside the home (and even from inside), I envy that they have something to do. At the same time, I know I don't have the energy or the will. My critical inner voice tells me I've been slothful for nine months, and attempts to shame me. My loving inner voice tells me I'm doing the best I can to keep it all together during a pandemic. I'll need to rebuild my physical strength when the world returns to normal. Join a gym again, that sort of thing. My daughter is excited that some day, again, I'll be able to hang out with her children so she can get a break, or maybe have a date night with her husband. It's a win-win situation.
As we end this year of horrors, President-Elect Bidens reminds us that the months are probably more horrible than the past year. While the vaccines are (slowly) being distributed, it's not fast enough, and the new administration will have its hands full correcting the errors and getting the vaccine program ramped up. And still, we will need to mask up and take precautions for the next year. It will be slow going, but it is our only way through this.
I hope you are up for the challenge, my friend. I hope you are finding ways to lift you up during these endless days and nights of dread. There are lights in the darkness and we have one another to lean on, grieve with, and celebrate the things that are still possible.
On this last day of 2020, I wish you love, and peace, and strength. Continue to be the good person that you are. No one, and no thing can take that away from you.