COVID at Christmas was personal.
COVID changed all that. So many of us have had to curtail our festivities and reunions.
My own family situation was probably typical of these changing circumstances.
This month was when my youngest son Dáire became 21 and when my lovely wife Cepta reached a milestone birthday. We had originally hoped to mark these very special occasions in one's life with very special hostings. But the COVID restrictions meant Dáire could only celebrate with his student house mates and Cepta received gifts as a substitute for the big (surprise!) party.
My fantastic brother Michael lives with his family in our ancestral home in Carrickmacross. Being ill at present means that he cannot, under totally understandable COVID protective guidelines, receive visitors. So my traditional meet up with him, the wider family members and our mutual friends for social drinks in Monaghan that I look forward too so much at Christmas sadly could not happen. So my visit yesterday on St. Stephen's Day was very muted. Michael and his fine young sons Ethan and Pierce (photo) could really only chat and drink tea with me from a distant.
Neighbours, friends and family have passed away since the Lockdown in March. It has been tough not being able to take part in the traditional gatherings in order to give respect to people that we knew, admired and loved.
Hopefully we will collectively as a society soon take the necessary actions to eliminate the causes of pandemics and the other problems that we are increasingly encountering on a global scale (Climate Change, soil infertility, pollution..) by rebuilding the natural world. Time is running out