CARMICHAEL: No ‘over the river and through the woods’ this Thanksgiving. I’ll be home for Christmas, too

Published 12:53 pm Saturday, November 28, 2020

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The holidays are upon us, yet most of us won’t be going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house or any other houses besides our own this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We’ll likely see loved ones who don’t live under our own roof only via some electronic device and computer app.

Even with the new technology, it will doubtless be a lonely time for many seniors, whether in their own homes, nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

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The oldest and most frail of the geriatric generation realizes that this might be their last Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s a difficult and depressing realization.

Those in nursing facilities have already acquiesced to giving up their homes and their independence when they made that move. They no longer have the ability to cook for their family or see the joy on the children’s faces on Christmas morning.

Now, a deadly virus precludes even brief visits.

Nursing homes and assisted living facility staff are doing their best to provide some semblance of the holidays with festive decorations, piped in holiday music and foods reminiscent of traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts.

We owe all caregivers a huge debt of gratitude for putting their very lives on the line to make the holidays the best that they can be in these trying times.

While seniors are at the highest risk of contracting the coronavirus and succumbing to its effects, everyone of any age struggles with the current restrictions, whether emotionally, psychologically or financially.

We are encouraged to continue to shelter in place except for essentials throughout the holidays.

Future projections also predict that the pandemic will carry over well into 2021. Already, New Years Eve celebrations have been canceled and few are confident in scheduling events during the coming year.

At times, it seems that there is no end in sight, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, as researchers race to find cures and preventative vaccines.

Even as our hearts go out to the aging this holiday season, we are reminded of the children around the world for whom gifts on their wish list will be made, not by tiny elves in a workshop at the North Pole, but ordered sight-unseen from an online catalog.

Father Christmas has been forced to trade his red suit for the blue or brown uniform of a courier and his reindeer-powered sleigh for an Amazon, Fed-Ex or UPS van.

Do the children leave the cookies and milk on the front porch and hope to catch a glimpse of Santa via their Ring doorbell? Parents are flying by the seats of their pants this year for sure.

It is becoming more and more clear that it is futile to beat our chests and rail against this virus.

We are currently experiencing the third wave of the pandemic, each more devastating than the last, due in part to the fact that we have not listened to the warnings. The virus has and will prevail unless we take every precaution to stop its virulent spread.

We simply must face the fact that we cannot proceed with holidays as usual. We must be vigilant and get creative.

Make new traditions, or better yet, go back to the simple traditions of our forefathers, before commercialization and technology.

Be content to stay home and spend time making ornaments, gifts and decorations rather than going out and shopping for them. Bake treats to give to your neighbors. Read a Christmas story to your children or make a video reading a favorite book or poem for a senior. It’s the safest way to show others that you truly care.

Take joy in knowing that your sacrifices now will ensure joyous holidays in the future.