Final Word on Christmas 2020 – Part 1: Silent Night, Dark Night

Christmas morning started with a bang. Literally. Somewhere around 2 am, a loud “boom” pierced the silence. The cat, who sneaks onto my lap when I am asleep, was startled into jumping off the bed and going to investigate. Outside, I could hear the rain pelting relentlessly on the roof. I turned my head toward the clock radio on my night table but no blue, digital numbers glowed in the dark.

I rose and padded, barefoot to the living room, carefully making my way in the pitch black. I peered out the window and saw that the whole neighbourhood was shrouded in darkness. Not a single porch light was on. No Christmas decorations twinkled in the night. We were in the midst of yet another power failure. My husband joined me at the window and we decided the noise must have been a transformer blowing. Then he ambled back to bed while I continued to look out onto the dark street.

“Just great,” I thought. “It’s Christmas morning, pouring rain and we are in the middle of a power failure.”  Then my thoughts went as dark as the night.  Last year, a power failure caused by a violent wind storm lasted three days. What would we do if it was a prolonged failure? We were in lockdown: We couldn’t go to a family member’s home. The city couldn’t  welcome people at the community centre. We couldn’t even go to a restaurant and warm up for an hour. With those questions on my mind, I climbed back into bed, pulled the covers tightly around me and tried to quiet my restless mind.

When I woke later, I was relieved to see the digital numbers of the clock radio blinking blue in the still-dark early morning. I got up and set to work right away.


Breaking with tradition

In keeping with our untraditional Christmas, there is no tree at our house this year. So, I am enjoying this photo of last year’s tree!

Yesterday was not a good day. I had myself a sublime pity party because we are on lockdown for the holidays. I stayed in my dressing gown for hours, moaning about the fact that Christmas without family was the saddest thing ever. Sorrow bubbled up and leaked from my eyes in the form of tears. They rolled liberally down my cheeks because I won’t see my kids over the holidays. Then, not to be outdone, guilt kicked in.

Let’s be honest. We all know someone who will break the rules and have loved ones around their table. But no matter how much I want to, I just can’t do it. I don’t want to be the one whose family member ends up sick, possibly even fighting for their life, because I wanted a traditional Christmas. I don’t want to be the one who gives frontline workers one more person to care for – because I wanted a traditional Christmas.  (They don’t even have a day off, never mind dinner with family.)  And honestly? I don’t want to be the one who gets the dreaded virus just because I wanted a traditional Christmas.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel sick with guilt that we won’t be together because I’m a rule follower.

But today, all was right with the world again.  Christmas won’t be traditional, but so what? We’ll take a walk with our family (outdoor activities are allowed) or raise a glass on Zoom (I know, we are all so over Zoom, but it’s been our lifeline to others for months. What’s one more day?) And, if the stars all align the way we are all hoping they will, Christmas 2021 is going to be one heck of a celebration.

Happy Holidays!

(Written for “Word of the Day Challenge” for December 20th: Sublime)

Dear Summer of 2020


Dear Summer of 2020,

Thank you for popping back in! They say it will be 27 degrees celsius today, and will feel like 33.  Even better, this gorgeous weather is on a weekend, when many of us can enjoy it!  I won’t lie and say you are the only summer we are sad to see go. But it’s safe to say you will be missed more than most.

You graced us with such fabulous weather in our neck of the woods that it helped to make up for the strange times we are living in. You were our escape, our key to freedom and road to good times with friends and family. Thanks to you, we could have meals outside and stay a safe 6 feet away from each other. We could sit well into the darkness and enjoy the moon, the stars, the sound of crickets and laughter and conversation with our loved ones. It’s too bad you couldn’t take COVID with you because now that you’re leaving, it’s rearing its ugly head again.  The number of infected people is rising every day and, without you, it’s so much harder.

Darkness comes much earlier and with it, a chill in the air that makes it unpleasant to sit outside. Except for the odd, exceptionally warm day, like today, eating outside isn’t the same either.  That means we have to spend more time inside and less time with friends and family. Worse, measures are tightening again. We are being asked not to have family dinners to celebrate Thanksgiving so we can stop the virus in its tracks and – if we’re lucky – be together at Christmas.  If we’re not successful, we can expect harsher measures to darken the already  monochromatic-gray days of autumn.

But for today, you are here and we will enjoy your brief return. Please pop back in any time you like and tell Summer of 2021 that it can come as early as it likes too.