I didn’t want to say anything in my anniversary post the other day, but the last week has been a series of punches to the gut. First, my middle son got into an accident on the way home from work last weekend. Thankfully it was at low speed and no one was hurt from either party, but it did total Jason’s electric car, making this the fifth accident and third totaled car in our household this year. We’re currently limping along in a single car, trying to make that work as different people have different appointments and schedules, until we can get a settlement and buy another car. Sigh. Fingers crossed we can do that before the year is out. And that we can find ourselves another electric car in our price range, especially since we have another $1k deductible to pay!
That, however, is the least of our concerns. My mom has been sick for the last two weeks. A few days into her symptoms, she took a home covid test, which came back negative. From there, she started to get better, only to relapse last weekend with what was probably considered new symptoms: a fever that wouldn’t drop below 103; cough; a terrible stabbing headache; falling asleep at the drop of a hat; inability to sort thoughts properly; everything smelling putrid and sweet… Yeah. My sisters and I all suspected covid, and we encouraged her to go to Urgent Care despite her negative test a week beforehand. She did eventually go, because she worried it might be bronchitis or walking pneumonia. No. It’s covid.
My mom is unvaccinated – refuses to be vaccinated – and in addition to that, she won’t take certain traditional medicines. Like, she’ll take antibiotics, but not Tylenol or any other fever reducers. So she started taking calcium for fever and vitamin C for covid, and she’s talking about ivermectin and nebulizing hydrogen peroxide and colloidal silver, eek!!! My stepdad won’t get tested, but it’s 99.9% probable he also has covid, since he has all the same symptoms.
Even worse, the rest of my mom’s family, who also refuse to be vaccinated, have all been exposed. My uncle Greg has tested positive. My grandmother is really sick and won’t let anyone help her out, even after another uncle – who was also sick but not tested at that point – found her on the floor where she’d laid for a long time post-falling (while refusing to hit her life-alert button to notify anyone). He bought in another uncle, who as far as I know wasn’t sick at all, so he’s now been exposed. On that side of the family, there are at least three uncles, one aunt, and my grandmother who have all been exposed to covid and who are all unvaccinated with various underlying health conditions. Which left us all wonderful who we might lose by the end of 2021. In better news, my grandmother did get tested this week, and she had to get her test at the hospital, so when the test came back positive, they immediately started the monoclonal antibody treatment. I know that she would have refused this in any other setting – like if she had to go to a treatment center herself – so this is one thing to be grateful for! She definitely felt much better afterwards.
(L to R: uncle, aunt, grandpa, grandma, mom, stepdad. Every person in this photo from 2014 – as well as a few others – has been exposed and is now vulnerable, except my grandfather, who passed in March)
Obviously, Christmas on my mom’s side of the family has been postponed. The original plan was for my family to go to my mom’s house on Christmas morning, along with my brother who is in town for a week. Obviously that’s out. Also out is the new year’s eve bonfire at my grandmother’s ranch. Last year, Jason and I didn’t do any of that out of an abundance of caution, pre-vaccine. This year, with rates still low in town (though starting to rise) and the four of us fully vaccinated and boosted, we felt safe enough going even though they were unvaccinated, especially for the outdoor festivities. But I guess that’ll wait, and honestly, I don’t know if I’ll see my grandmother again. I hadn’t seen my grandfather – who passed (not from covid) in late March – since the NYE bonfire in 2019, and one of the big reasons I pushed to attend the bonfire this year is that I don’t know how much longer my grandmother is going to last. Even before this, she wasn’t doing well. I guess at least I got to see her in April at my grandfather’s memorial. But GAH.
Anyway. I’m going to draw a line under the sad bits there, and return to what was possible for Christmas this year. First, there was the Secret Santa exchange with my hiking friends. We had dinner out last weekend, and I brought my good camera so that I could get better photos of the night. At first, I was a bit shy about taking them, but as time passed and I got more used to it, it almost felt like fading into the background and capturing moments, which I love. After our lunch/exchange, we had a little photo portrait session outside the restaurant (which had a beautiful botanic setting!). Not everyone was able to stay for that part, but the majority did, and I got a great photo of our group:
(I love these ladies so much!)
On Christmas eve, we spent the afternoon with a few members of my dad’s side of the family, including my brother (who I last saw in April) and my half-sister (who was in California for her first semester of college this fall). We had a hilarious white elephant exchange, and afterwards played a blow-up gladiator game outside. At home in the evening, we Zoomed with Jason’s family for our annual Christmas gift swap, and then per tradition, each of us opened one present before bed. Mine happened to be Connect Four Shots, so we had another rambunctious and fun game before everyone settled down for the night. Ambrose and Laurence put out brandy and fairy toast for Santa instead of milk and cookies. It was awful. Jason took one bite, while I took one sip of brandy, and then Jason poured the brandy over the toast and wrote a note back to the boys to scold them. Ha! It’s become a Thing to have Santa and the boys in a verbal spar every year.
Christmas, of course, was very subdued compared to normal. We opened our household gifts in the morning, then facetimed with Morrigan in Kansas. We’ll be doing our household gift swap (which includes Morrigan and his girlfriend, Katy) later tonight, in addition to my family’s sibling swap, which may or may not happen this afternoon. (When I said Christmas was SCATTERED this year, this is what I meant!) We had most of the day off to relax and hang out, then went to my dad’s house for games and a fireside hangout in the afternoon/evening. We played cornhole (I am the cornhole MASTER), ate cake, drank wine…it was nice. Admittedly, fire was an odd choice for 80-degree weather, but hey. At least the sunset was gorgeous!
Obviously, there is still more to come. The swaps I mentioned above, plus anything with my mom’s side of the family after the covid dust settles – which will hopefully settle without any deaths!! It’s a complicated and unfortunate time in the family, and while I have a couple end-of-year wrap-ups mostly pre-drafted for this week in terms of the blog, I’m going to continue to stay a bit inactive here for the rest of 2o21. I hope you all had a covid-free and less stressful Christmas, and that you continue in good health through the rest of the holiday season!