Erin's Journals

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Just a thought… You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming. [Pablo Neruda]

Two weeks today is Christmas Eve. I’m tempted to write a poem, but it’s all been said and, honestly, there isn’t much to add to the sentiments of this season. Hearts are tearing across the world and in our homes and communities, as the hopes of being together at Christmas are dashed – either for this year or, for some, forever.

It’s been a relentlessly difficult year. And so we look for hope in a vaccine, pray for compassion in others that they’ll see the light and wear their masks, obey calls for caution and distancing, and do what’s needed to help all of us get through this toughest of all Christmases.

My own aunt and uncle decided yesterday that they just can’t, in good conscience or health, fly to Calgary to be with their precious children and grandchildren for the holidays. It’s devastating for them all, I know. We’ll do what we can to help them through it…whatever that may be. But Rob and I have had heartbreak at this time of year; we know how it feels.

When we endured our hardest holiday season in 2015, we ran away – literally. Rob and I hopped a plane, rented a place for two weeks, binge-watched the Cumberbatch Sherlock series, and barbecued on December 25th after hiding out for the day in a spa.

We started each day with a laugh by playing the silly Ellen DeGeneres app Heads Up! with each other, acting out and trying to get the other person to guess who or what we were. It was incredibly strange yet relieving to feel the rush of laughter and the soothing endorphins of happiness, even for a few minutes. I highly recommend it for you, if you feel you can do it.

This will be a Christmas like no other. The unfamiliar far-off light that shines in our lives right now comes from the hope of a vaccine that will be arriving on Canadian shores at a blessedly rapid pace. I will place my unwavering faith in the hands of those whose job it has always been to follow the science and lead us out of the darkness.

Of course, not all will: a doctor with Don Lemon on CNN last night outlined just how widely and quickly the hoaxes surrounding information about the vaccine (much of it from Russia) are appearing. There are Facebook pages devoted to the COVID vaccine and they’re rife with lies. So, please be vigilant and don’t be a spreader, in more ways than one.

One troll on Twitter the other night told me (when I gave an ‘amen’ to a Jann Arden tweet about the vaccine in the UK), “You liberals go first.” Um, okay. (Question: does aluminum foil work as well for headgear as tin foil?)

I know, I know, I shouldn’t have responded…but I said, with wide-eyed sarcasm, “Thank you, but I’ll wait my turn: after front line and health care workers and seniors have gotten theirs.”

He responded, “Your government luvs you.” (I hope they do, the money I’ve given them over the years! You’d think I might get a valentine once in a while, but a life-saving vaccine will have to do, I guess.)

See, there’s the rub: so many have been lied to and deceived by government leaders year after year (and this guy was from Vegas) that they refuse to believe a vaccine is anything but some devious plan to track us (go ahead; I’m boring) or poison us. They listen to online crackpots who throw out insanity, only to be lapped up by people who are vulnerable to such misinformation.

Fake videos of hoax doctors who supposedly have dark inside facts about the virus, the people behind it – even Bill Gates, for God’s sake. The man who almost single-handedly eradicated polio worldwide in the late 20th century (only to see a resurgence among the anti-vaxxers whom I can only imagine like the idea of an iron lung). Just last week someone on my own Facebook page said it’s no worse than the flu. Yes, that tired trope is still going around, my friend.

Oh, this turned dark. I’m sorry. I’m finding so many reasons to be grateful this year and I’ll share them with you here in the days to come, as part of a podcast on which I’ll be a guest with my friends Sheila and Anita next week, called “Moms Sipping Sangria.” I’m also planning a recorded chat with Mike Cooper as we approach Christmas; I’ll share that check-in with you.

Sigh. How I wish I was doing a Christmas Eve show with you this year. Maybe I’ll shoot a little video message. But it won’t be the same as hosting that family get-together – something that was our shared tradition for 24 wonderful years. You know, of course, that CHFI will have special programming just for the evening (and the following day, too) and it’ll include some of our shared creations, so I’ll be with you in spirit and even a little bit of audio here and there. I’m so lucky still to be a part of people’s holiday celebrations, even in the smallest of ways.

And speaking of holidays, if you light the first candle of the menorah tonight, I wish you and yours a Happy Hanukkah. Again, we’re thinking of families separated by the virus at this special time of year; you’re in my heart.

We just have to hold on. Get through this one December so that we can get people safe and vaccinated and head into some semblance of normalcy before the next holiday season rolls around. We can do this.

I’ll be back with a new journal on Monday and I am sending you a huge hug.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, December 10, 2020