Best-laid Christmas Plans Derailed by Family Illness
The best-laid Christmas plans derailed due to unexpected family illness. While on chemotherapy, I maintain a quiet, sequestered life to protect me from the risk of infection. Once I realized my chemo schedule would leave me free the entire week of Christmas, I made plans with family to spend the week at my elder sister’s home and go across town to my parents’ home for various activities, including gift opening and Christmas dinner. I anticipated this special time to enjoy with my loved ones. Little did I know a severe, highly contagious virus would sweep through the household, resulting in our best-laid Christmas plans derailed.
Early in the week, it became apparent that sickness had hit my parents’ house. First one, and then another fell ill with a nasty respiratory virus, making it imprudent for me to be in close contact with my dear family. Thankfully, my sister’s family across town remained healthy, so I stayed nearby with the hope that the virus would pass quickly.
We had also all joined in a family meeting using Skype early in the week, so I began to think about Skyping with one sister who could not be with us for Christmas for gift opening. It seemed to be the next best thing to being there.
As Christmas dawned, family members were still ill, making it impossible for me safely join them for our planned celebration. So, we cooked dinner in separate kitchens across town, transported dishes for Christmas dinner and gifts, and then logged into Skype so that we could watch as gifts were passed around and opened.
Although I did not get the hugs I normally enjoy while home to visit, amazingly, the joy of Christmas surrounded us and we were able to watch via Skype as each one peeled back wrapping paper of carefully selected gifts. Skyping made us slow down and focus on each individual family member, appreciating the joy of receiving a well chosen gift and the resulting gratitude expressed. And, we sent one another air hugs and other expressions of love through cyberspace.
While we had seen our best-laid Christmas plans derailed, we still savored a delicious, potluck home-cooked Christmas dinner and celebrated this special time together through the miracle of modern technology.