As I drove home from getting my usual curbside groceries, a beautiful Christmas song came on the radio. The Gloucestershire Wassail Carol is a favorite from my childhood. All of a sudden, a wave of sadness so potent washed over me that I almost had to pull over to the side of the road. All the things we would miss swam into my head: my dearest grandchildren, whom I haven’t seen in a year, my daughters, evenings with friends. I thought about the wonderful Christmas Eve service we attend in my daughter’s church in Los Angeles, ending with all holding lit candles and singing a carol together. The kids running in the aisles after their little pageant. The velvet dresses, the holly sprigs, and the wonderful dinner after the service.
I thought of the little dinner I have planned for just the two of us. The tiny tree we have in the living room with just the few gifts under it. I remembered large dinners with five kinds of dessert. Riding in a car with friends to look at the neighborhood lights. Ladies’ holiday lunches. None of that will happen this year.
If I were 40, this would just be a blip in my radar. There would be so many years ahead to look forward to. But there aren’t that many in front of me; I don’t know if there will be even a dozen holiday seasons. Might there be only a few?
I let the self-pity run its course. I turned my car radio off.
I took a deep breath, adjusted my mask, and drove on.