With a loved one lost to COVID, Thanksgiving wasn’t the same

D’Miya Smith’s family gathering this past Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy Smith.

Thanksgiving is known as the day of giving thanks, a national holiday in the United States and in Canada.

In many American households Thanksgiving doesn’t have much of a religious meaning anymore; it now centers on cooking and sharing meaningful meals with family and friends.

But this year due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, things had to be a little bit different.  The CDC set in place some very important guidelines to ensure all families have a safe yet fun holiday. We were told to wear your mask to protect yourself and others, stay at least 6 feet apart from those who do not live with you, and wash your hands often throughout your gathering.

Despite the unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19, being surrounded by loved ones seems like something we all needed during this difficult time. For me, especially, this Thanksgiving was one to remember. I lost someone who once made this holiday very special for me. Due to the CDC’s COVID guidelines for Thanksgiving this year, my family was forced to get creative with our yearly meetup.

This year onThanksgiving morning I woke up with a heavy heart, not knowing how I would get through the day. I was feeling sad about the loved one I had lost. Although my morning started off rough, I had to pick my head up to be strong for myself and for those around me. This year, my aunt invited the family to come over to her house so that we could all be together for a day of fun. Instead of our usual meetup, to avoid being in an over-capacity setting, each individual family was advised to pick a time slot where we could pick up our meals and socialize for a bit.

Given the circumstances, Thanksgiving `was held at my aunt’s home, where our normal gathering would usually take place at my grandmother’s house. It was different being in such a new environment because for as long as I can remember, gatherings took place at my grandmother’s house. Now a new tradition has started.

Since we are still in a pandemic, my aunt advised everyone to get tested at least three days prior to Thanksgiving. She also set up safety precarious to ensure that we all practiced safe and social distancing.  Masks were required to be worn at all times, especially inside the house. Also, sanitizers were set up around different stations inside and outside the home. Food was prepared by one individual to avoid heavy traffic in the kitchen area, and all meals were to be eaten at a table outside.

The situation that we are all currently facing is one that couldn’t have been predicted, but we are also forced to make the best of it and continue to live a safe and prosperous life. This Thanksgiving was not at all what I imagined it would be. Never in a million years did I think the year 2020 would result in me losing one of the most important people in my life. Everyday I am reminded of what I lost, and this Thanksgiving was no different.

But I was thankful I got the opportunity to return home to be with loved ones.My week was filled with love and security. My grandmother wouldn’t have had it any other way.