The lost year

What was the last thing you did?

A friend’s birthday party. She was born in the ’70s, so the party was ’70s-themed. We brought fondue. I wore bell bottoms. My husband dressed like Disco Stu. Another friend is a DJ, so they cleared the furniture out of one room of the house to be the “dance floor.” A bunch of us did the traditional lineup-dance to Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”

I helped my daughter’s Girl Scout troop during a cookie booth sale. (Those things sell themselves. Cars were pulling up out of nowhere as people yelled delightedly, “There you are! I’ve been looking for someone selling cookies! I’ll take 12 boxes!” Half the time it’s women who used to be Girl Scouts.) We were set up at a Tractor Supply store, so we let the girls take turns walking over to look at the chicks and ducklings in the fenced-in pens.

Meantime, I kept reading the news. The virus was bad. It was getting closer. It was in the U.S. It was in New Jersey.

The schools shut down, we stayed home. We thought it was temporary. We’re still home.

Three people we know lost loved ones. My father-in-law died of cancer and we never held a memorial service, because we were under lockdown.

A friend of ours got the virus and was in bed for nine days straight — and that’s probably considered a “mild” case. At least once a week, we get an email alert that someone at our kids’ school has tested positive. But our kids are home, not around other kids, whom we see running around the neighborhood unmasked.

Things are looking more hopeful now, I think. More people are getting vaccinated. The statewide rate of transmission is ticking down again. Outdoor events (and outdoor dining) are becoming more doable. We might have something like an actual summer.

But it’s okay to be sad today. It’s okay to remember everything we lost. Birthday parties. Graduations. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. Vacations. Jobs. People.

I’m sorry for whatever you lost.

Here’s hoping for a better year ahead.

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