In addition to the loss of lives and jobs, and the uncertainty for the near and distant future that the pandemic has brought (we don’t know the long-term health effects, something else the COVID-19 pandemic has taken from us is celebrations. Celebrations of births, weddings, and other milestones, celebrations of life for those lost, celebrations for graduations have been cancelled, delayed, or significantly scaled back.
My daughter is having her bat mitzvah this summer. There may be a small number of people able to attend the service in person, but most people will see it via Zoom. We hope to have a party for her next summer.
We have friends whose children graduated from high school and college in the past year without the big ceremonies or grad night parties.
The big celebrations that are held to mark important moments in our lives haven’t been possible, and I think this is one of the reasons why so many of us struggle with how time has passed throughout this. Has it really been fifteen months that I’ve been working from home? Was it really just early last year that my family went on vacation to Ottawa to see the national university basketball championships?” Without those celebrations of life’s milestones, time seems kind of elusive.
But it’s not just the big celebrations that we’ve missed out on. It’s the small ones that we often don’t think about, things like going out with co-workers to celebrate a big project getting done or going for pizza after your rec league softball game or grabbing a dinner out with your partner when you child is at a birthday party (baby sitting for two hours at the cost of one board game and dealing with your child’s sugar high from piles of frosting on the cake). We missed a lot of these celebrations too, and that is a loss.
It’s been a year and half of sickness, death, job losses, hatred, political polarization and violence, and the stress of trying to work and homeschool your children at the same time. The hard stuff has been abundant. It often is in life, but those celebrations for the small wins often get us through the day or the week, and the celebrations of the big things are how we mark time and all that we have to be grateful for.
I’m hoping that all of those celebrations will return soon. I hope that they help us heal. I hope they bring us together.
Featured image courtesy of Marko Milivojevic under a CC-0 license.