Home Editorials Holiday season has become bittersweet

Holiday season has become bittersweet

by PRIDE Newsdesk

William T. Robinson, Jr.

The month of December harbors many multicultural celebratory holidays, including: Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa which in the past have been well celebrated with family and friends coming together. Unfortunately, in the new era of the coronaviruses, these holidays are being celebrated with bittersweet reservations that may affect the multitude of joy and happiness normally attributed to these festive occasions.

The continuing appearance of the pestilent COVID-19 virus (including several variants, including the Delta and Omicron) is decimating many communities, wreaking havoc and forever changing our lives. The suffering, pain, and death that has visited many of our homes have left an indelible, immeasurable void in our lives. This is noticeably apparent during the holidays.

The missing of deceased loved ones struck down by the coronavirus (who once played a pivotal part in our lives) has taken some of the joy from gathering together for the holidays. However, when we realize how short live can be, many of us are determined to come together, throwing caution in the wind, regardless of the pending consequences that may prevail in this coronavirus era.

Love sometimes supersedes us, keeping us from thinking logically at times. That is part of being human. But for the most part, many people have exercised caution this year when determining if it is feasible to come around family and loved ones. However hurtful it may be, many fear they will unknowingly spread these contagious coronaviruses to loved ones—especially the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions. They feel that coming together is not worth the pain it could cause. But many of those determined to be with their loved ones during the holidays have taken every possible precaution available, being compliant with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters or testing mandates.

Many of those going home for the holidays have demanded that all family members and friends in attendance be pre-tested and follow existing mandates. Many are so comfortable with the precautions they have taken that they may not have required family in closed areas to wear masks, often leaving it to the discretion of the individual.

By all means, let it be understood that with all these precautions, in some cases, someone may still catch the coronavirus—even if they have taken the prescribed vaccines and boosters. These precautionary measures give one added insurance. In the event they contact the virus, they won’t have to be hospitalized and possibly die. These safe measures also protect others, minimizing the virus’ spread and hopefully working to bring about some form of normalcy in our lives. While some are skeptical about these vaccines, boosters and mandates, we all know nothing is 100%. There are always exceptions to the rules. But when taking in scope the size of our population, the exceptions tend to be minimal.

Whether we like it or not, the way we celebrate holidays have forever been compromised. The ways we come together or not come together have been compromised. Protecting others and our safety are factors that should not be ignored, considering the emotional cost it may bring to these celebratory occasions. For many of us, all we have to do is remember the monumental loss we felt when trying to celebrate these holiday events with missing grandparents, parents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends struck down by this pernicious virus and its variants.

Thus far, this holiday season has been bittersweet for many of us, as we come together as families. We must recognize the importance of sharing love now with living family members and friends. But at the same time, we are saddened at the absence of loved ones taken by the coronaviruses. I can only conclude that the bitterness can be weakened when we all come together, united to fight these viruses ravaging our lives.

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