Special occasions, such as birthdays or a retirement, can still be celebrated despite our need to keep our distance during COVID-19.
When social distancing became our reality, all of the in-person celebrations came to a halt. No more singing happy birthday and passing cake around the room. No more popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate with friends. No more parties. We all mourned the loss of celebrations. We’ve come to realize that celebrations that we had previously planned aren’t going to happen the way we thought or planned. Although we can’t gather for cake, dancing, hugging, or toasting our glasses in person, we can certainly find other ways to celebrate our loved ones on the special occasions in their lives.
My Dad has worked his entire life to support our family. He owned his own business, which meant early mornings, late nights, missed vacations, and many long hours over the last 45 years to finally reach the pinnacle….RETIREMENT. A few weeks prior to his retirement date, we went into quarantine. Suddenly the realization set in that we wouldn’t be together to celebrate. He wouldn’t even get a celebration at work. For his lifelong career to end without a cake, without a farewell party at work, without a toast, without laughs and shared stories amongst colleagues, and without a huge family celebration was heartbreaking.
After mourning the loss of what we imagined it would be, we decided to move forward and make a new plan. Although it was different than what we had planned, it was still special. After all, celebrations aren’t canceled, just postponed. I had family members send me video messages with their best wishes and memories, and my mom sent me photos of him working throughout the years. I spliced everything together into one video montage that I could send him. My little guy and I made a surprise trip to their house on his last day of work and decorated his driveway with sidewalk chalk. It was a small gesture, but I knew it would make him smile. My mom hung a huge banner in front of the house and made his favorite dessert. We found little ways to make his day special in a different way. Although it wasn’t what we had planned, it was a memory he will never forget. The silver lining is that now more than ever, we are aware of what is truly important in life. The small luxuries in life that we took for granted are now things we will cherish forever. So until the time comes that we can hug, cheers & celebrate side by side, find ways to love on them from afar.