[From December 17, 2017: I know I’m skipping around a bit, chronologically, but this popped up today in Facebook’s “on this day” memories and I thought it was worth repeating. I also thought, holy shit, we’ve been doing this a long time. Then there’s the fact that the pandemic (and, for us, a string of very personal losses) was still a couple years away when I wrote this, which has made it all that much more difficult… and all that much more important.]
One of the more difficult parts of this shitstorm is the isolation that is, quite often, the consequence of decisions made for legitimate emotional and/or physical (or, sometimes in our case, immuno-protective) reasons. You see, today is our extended family Christmas and, as much as I know Chelli needs to feel included and, for lack of a better word, alive… it was also pretty clear this morning that we weren’t going to be able to go, at least not on time or for the duration. We’re trying to figure out a plan. Maybe we’ll swing by at the tail end so she can hug my 94-year old grandfather, the sweetest old man who worries about her so much, but I’m not sure if even that will be possible. We’ll figure it out; that’s what we do.
Here’s my point: Whether you know it or not, you have someone in your life who is really struggling this holiday season. Maybe it’s with a serious illness like Chelli, maybe they’ve lost a spouse like several of our friends have this last year, or maybe they’re struggling with the loss of a job or a relationship or a marriage. It doesn’t really matter what it is; trauma is trauma. Think about that person right now, if you would. Hold them in your heart for a moment. In fact, write their name on a post-it and stick it on your refrigerator, somewhere you’ll see it frequently and be reminded. Because I’m telling you that for a multitude of reasons, these folks are often going to find it difficult to participate in “normal” life, especially around the holidays, but they don’t want to be forgotten.
Look, things are crazy this time of year for everyone, I know, but here is my simple and straightforward ask: Remember that friend or loved one this holiday season, in both word and deed. And if you can, do something to meet them where they are, emotionally and/or physically, and do it without adding guilt or burden or shame or stress to their already tenuous situation. I know it’s hard to figure out what that thing is or what it would even look like or be received, but I’m telling you, it’s important. And it will be a true gift greater than anything you could buy at the mall, I promise you.
For your friend on the post-it, thank you.