“Chaos: a confused mass or jumble of things, a state of utter confusion, disorganization; a state of things in which chance is supreme”
On our walk this sun-lit Christmas Eve morning, meandering through the winding, snowy paths of historic Evergreen Cemetery, our conversation turned to sharing how we felt about being separated from family, how were we each managing our emotions as we thought about celebrating this holiday honoring the tradition of family, peace and joy….with a bit of grief and loss in our hearts. The background for this particular conversation in an apropos setting, surrounded by tombstones.
Dennis mentioned he recently read an article someone had written on ‘chaos’…how we are all just a moment away from chaos interrupting our lives. How, like COVID, it shows up uninvited, impromptu, as a surprise, a shock, with an overwhelming set of emotions. As he spoke, the concept of chaos instantly resonated with me as I thought about tomorrow’s Christmas dinner…for (only) two.
I believe this is the first time in over 50 years that we would be physically separated from both our sons, and Danielle, for the holiday. Last year our family celebrated together for a fun-filled, memory-laden week in West Palm Beach.
At this later stage of life, it seems legitimate to wonder how many Christmases might be in my future? Seems cruel and unfair to miss a single one. To be reduced to a small screen Zoom celebration, an aberration.
It breaks my heart.
It will most likely be a full year before we’re in the physical presence of Danielle and Jeremy. We have rarely seen John in the last nine months, although he lives just outside Boston, due to COVID. When we do connect, we are always masked, unless outside, and then distancing at least six feet apart. Each time we get together, I take the risk to hug John…..it is always from behind, masked, my arms around his waist, my face buried in his shoulder blades, holding back tears.
It is the day after Christmas and I am reflecting on the holiday that wasn’t ideal, nor that bad.
Our Zooms were fun. Our dear friend, Elise, drew names and assigned the five of us a Secret Santa duty. We were to order something under $50 and have it sent directly to the recipient…in Florida, Massachusetts or Maine..not to be opened until our Zoom on Christmas Day. John received a box from Target and to be on the safe side, placed it under the tree. As instructed, he didn’t open it until we were all together, only to find it contained a bottle of Shower Spray that he had ordered! Luckily, there was another package containing a beautiful sweater from his Dad.
As Dennis and I shared Christmas dinner, we propped an iPad up at one end of the dining room table and via FaceTime, included John, as he ate his dinner from his home in Winthrop. Later, the family regrouped again for dessert together…including Danielle’s parents visiting West Palm Beach from Pennsylvania.
On to the next holiday.
This week, I look forward to closing the door on 2020 and holding tight to a promise of better things to come in 2021.
I am thankful for all that carried me through this chaotic, unpredictable year…the ability to Zoom and FaceTime with family and friends on a regular basis, writing and taking pictures, losing my thoughts in every nature walk.
I have a deeper appreciation for the incredible natural art found in beach sand and ocean water, in the soul-touching colors of the sky…in a shell, a rock, a piece of driftwood, a cloud formation…and most especially, I am thankful for sharing a space with my best friend and love of my life. Without his playfulness, optimism and support, I am certain this pandemic experience could have been devastating.
I am certain that much of the chaos of this past year will dissipate as we venture into January and toward a change in our government and the continuation of the vaccine program. It is only a matter of time before I can hug each of you, mask-less, and with great vigor.
A toast of good health, peace and bits of magic to every one of you! Happy New Year!!