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So after a very quiet Thanksgiving just my DH, my DS and myself - my DH comments. "you know, it is so nice not having all of the relatives fighting with us about coming to visit them over the holidays" and I just realized why I'm not a stressed out, crabby, insane woman at this point that wants to run away to Belize. My Mom (3 hours away), My In laws (across the country) and not trying to schedule our time for us, trying to guilt trip or manipulate us (only three days? we thought you would stay a week, after all we HARDLY see you...), set expectations that we cannot nor do we want to meet.


Instead - we have been having very pleasant and low key phone calls.


What are you grateful for?


And yes this is tongue in cheek. I am grieving the loss of some friends and family to COVID. I've had COVID. I'm not trying to be insensitive.

I am grateful for the pandemic because it is giving me a break from my toxic sisters. I am working on healthy boundaries and this is giving me a rest from my family and experience with living in peace. When the pandemic is over I will be better able to maintain boundaries even though they won't like it, because I will have the memory of living in peace and knowing that it is possible.

As the oldest child, I was raised to be the responsible rescuer for the rest of my family. Now I physically can't get involved and I'm learning to let go of the need to rescue. It's still ingrained in my self-identity but I can see it now and can fight it.
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For me the "gift of the virus" is in delivery services I would otherwise think are expensive and/or extravagant. My attempts to be the best daughter and caregive and all those day to day responsibilities that keep things going but that are taken for granted by 103 year old males who always had those things taken care of by the females in the family wound up catching up with me...and the end of Sept I was rushed to the hospital and had surgery for a dissected aorta (often fatal and what took the lives of Alan Thicke and John Ritter may they rest in peace.) So I am grateful to be back home with my pup, for the good people I didn't realize would really be there for me (like some neighbors) and others....let's just say they were not the ones on my in case of emergency list. And it made me realize the importance of updating my POA for health care stuff which I have never really done. BUt the grocery and restaurant delivery services have been a godsend because my stamina is still reestablishing itself and I cannot stand in the kitchen long cooking. My appetite isn't what it was and so if I get a craving, I can usually get something delivered if need be.
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anniefey, I love your post so much that I'm going to post it again!

"Maybe the 'gift' of the virus can be acknowledgement of an awakening and give you the opportunity to create new behaviors around the stress of the holidays in the future. I think one of the greatest sadnesses in human behavior is when others guilt you into doing what you know is not in your best interest. You are not responsible for the happiness of others. Look at the underlying reasons why you felt such great relief in not participating this year, and why. Learn to say no in a kind and firm way. This has been a huge teaching moment if you can see it. Life didn’t come to a screeching halt when the usual family gatherings didn’t happen."

I know so many people who get so caught up in holidays. They complain, but still continue to do every. little. thing. that their families expect. I refused to go along with that years ago (we do not travel to NYS to visit in-laws for holidays). Our holidays are already streamlined and simple.

I am a homebody, too, and am glad I didn't have to do lots of things since March (including going to two weddings in NYS).
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I am grateful that my employer had the capacity for Working Remotely in place so that when I had a back issue I could keep up with things from home and not have to got out on leave.  I am especially grateful for the family that gave a gift of life a the loss of a loved one and because of that my 10 year old nephew is rocking a new kidney.  I am grateful that my family had remained healthy and has been able to work during this time.  I am sorry for the loss of a friendship over my not wanting her to drop in any time with a gang of extended family members to use our pool when we had planned a socially distant visit with our older nephew and his infant daughter.
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Grateful I don't need to deal with makeup because of wearing a mask :D
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I am grateful for a lot of things this year. I have to say that 2020 for me, while challenging, has definitely not been my worst year. I've had a run of bad years for quite some time now, but this year for me has brought some peace. I'm grateful to be able to be quiet and spend time with God. I've been able to take some time to actually enjoy the outdoors that I really love. I'm grateful that I haven't had to worry about those holiday functions that I really don't want to attend. I've been able to take some time to clean out what I consider clutter in my house 🤣. After 30 years of monster commutes, someone has listened to me always saying that reporting to an office is such an archaic idea and I have finally been able to work from home since March. I am also grateful that my loved ones have recovered from Covid save one (and she had been sick with other things). I am also grateful that we haven't had any cancer scares lately in our circle (that is the disease that I am so tired of having claim my loved ones). I have a lot to be grateful for! 😃
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I am grateful for life itself.
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I’m grateful for all of the things I’ve been able to avoid because of Covid. So nice to stay at home and not feel pressured to go out. Grateful that my husband and son are fully recovered from Covid.
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It actually hasn't changed my life a lot as I am retired and an introvert, but I am grateful that it forced me to start getting groceries delivered. I will be happy to feel safe in the grocery stores in future so I can get some things I can't now, but in the really cold weather I can stay in and get delivery. Staying isolated has also made me appreciate the contacts that I used to have and will have again,
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NavyVet90, I hope the remainder of this year, next year and the following years bring you lots of happiness and freedom from the kinds of stress you have had in the past. I also want to thank you for your service to our country!
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NavyVet, so relieved for you that this long and hard journey is over. So glad you are staying here. My bro is gone also, and I am also finishing up the estate, but I stay here because it now seems so many here are "friends" and I think I can at least give or try to give some hints I have learned. I too feel able to stay put and just mourn my bro, who died in May. He was 85 and just the greatest guy I ever knew, but it is still shocking, whether we are mourning, or well shed of all the care. Just a change. I agree I am as glad it is me, quiet life, a few mysteries to read, a garden, long walks, cooking and sewing and just nesting.
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What an interesting thread! I've been thinking a lot about this year and where the pandemic has brought us and the fears and worries about the economy and people losing jobs, friends and family getting sick, etc. I do try to see the upside of the path my life has taken; I realized that 2020 is not even in the top 3 of worst years ever for me. Not only am I an introverted homebody, but I've been on full disability (VA/SS) for PTSD since 2001. I worked really hard over the years to manage it by lots of therapy, knowing my triggers, avoiding stress, and keeping my life as simple and low anxiety as possible. We moved from the Northeast to Florida in 1995 to get away from my toxic family drama. Life was good. My DH is more outgoing and he retired from his day job in 2007 and loves playing softball, golf, etc. Then, my parents moved 1100 miles to the same retirement community as us and I'd been stuck being their slave ever since. I never had kids, could barely take care of myself, and never wanted to be in charge and become the 'parent'. The stress was unbelievable, causing a major PTSD relapse and a host of other health issues. My BP was so high by 2018 when I put them in AL that I was under doctors orders for 2 weeks bedrest and to not visit them or take their calls. I was a stroke walking around waiting to happen. (I was also DPOA for them.) By that time we had learned just how disordered my father was, NPD, ASPD, paranoid delusions, pathological liar, nasty, mean and abusive. He treated my Mom like crap for 64 years, then she died (massive stroke). I had gone blind in one eye from a failed eye surgery, and was diagnosed with severe liver disease so had to go off ALL my PTSD meds. Then my mom's dog died of heart failure. I was stuck dealing with him (with DH's help) for another 17 months. I stepped out of the F.O.G. after mom's death and went very low contact. I stopped visiting before the pandemic hit as I would no longer put up with verbal abuse, gaslighting. The man had zero empathy and a bad temper. It was NOT dementia, just his core personality. He was safe and cared for by professionals in a beautiful ALF. The upside for me was that we could blame Covid for the lockdown and used that excuse to not see him. The ALF did a superb job of keeping Covid out - zero cases. He finally died in May (96yo!) I am so grateful to be finally free! 20 days later, I lost my precious furbaby to heart failure. I am still recovering from the anger and resentment that my best retirement years and health were stolen from me and that I shouldered all the responsibility while my 2 younger brothers washed their hands of their parents, zero help, and didn't even offer me moral support. Out of sight, out of mind, so I severed ties with them too. I am freed from all the toxic people in my life finally. Now I'm taking care of me even though it's tough with the lack of in person medical/dentist appointments and venturing out to supermarket once a week. Haven't eaten out or had my hair cut since February. I'm fine at home and am never bored. We had a very quiet Thanksgiving, turned down several invitations, probably same for Christmas. The holidays have always been a rough time for me anyway. I feel safe in my cozy home and am grateful for my DH, my furbaby, my therapist and the VA. So even with the pandemic, 2020 since May has been a peace of cake for me compared to the previous 7-10 years. I just have to finish settling Dad's estate. My caregiving journey is over, but I still like to come here for the emotional support and I've learned so much. Thank you!
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I am so very sorry that so many have suffered, lost loved ones, lost income to this virus. However I am grateful that many have learned what a blessing their lives are even through these difficult times. Had time to look around and see the beauty all around us, from the sun, moon, trees, birds, flowers, etc. Not what money can buy, but what we have been blessed with. If you have loved ones still alive, in your life, that played a big part in why you are here, you are blessed. I no longer have my parents, Grandparents, etc. because I am 80 years old. But I am so grateful I had precious times with them, even through Alzheimer care and difficult times with Mom. I lost my Dad suddenly and I would give anything to be with him if only for a few minutes, to kiss his cheek, hold his hand and smile with him. I hope all young folks will realize the time they spend with their loved ones while alive is not only a gift to their loved one but to themselves also. ❤️
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Thanks for this posting. We need to share our optimism. Life is too short to be all about doom and gloom.

There’s a time to vent and a time to show gratitude. It’s all about balance.

I am grateful that my husband is able to work remotely from home.

He does have to go into the office occasionally for specific issues but not on a regular basis.

I don’t take a lot for granted these days, especially since my husband’s cancer diagnosis.

I am grateful for every time that my husband reaches for my hand, holds me in his arms, and tells me how much he loves me.

Today is a special day, he proposed to me and gave me a beautiful engagement ring on December 7, 1977.

I am grateful that my husband’s cancer treatments are moving along in the direction that his oncologist has projected.

I am grateful that my daughters are sensible regarding Covid restrictions.

I am grateful that my mom is receiving hospice care in my brother’s home and that my brother finally realizes how hard life was for me when mom was in my home.

I can’t imagine how devastating it is for those who have loved ones in facilities and can’t see them or far worse, those who experienced the death of a family member or friend.

I am grateful that this forum can bring hope to so many people around the world. I am grateful that I don’t take foolishness seriously. I appreciate the sincerity of genuine kindness and I honestly could care less about the rest.

Wishing peace to all of you during these challenging times.

We have happier days in store for us.
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Ditto
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I’m a bit of a recluse. Both hubby and I haven’t really suffered much during the pandemic. We live simplified lives and grateful for what we do have. Gratitude keeps one grounded and we thank God each day for blessings.
I am still able to assist both my very elderly parents which is a blessing as well.
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My thoughts are a jumble at reading the replies. My words may not convey the compassion I am feeling.

My wake up call regarding Christmas came 22 years ago. I was that year on maternity leave at Christmas, the only one that I did not work full time and pick up catering shifts on evenings and weekends. I so completely wore myself out trying to give my family the perfect Christmas, that I could not get out of bed Christmas morning. I had a raging fever, my throat was swollen to the point I could not swallow a pill or drink water. On Boxing Day my ex convinced me to go to the hospital. I had a severe case of strep throat.

It took multiple rounds of antibiotics, I discovered that Erythromycin has really bad side effects in red heads, and I got Mono on top of everything else. Of and multiple yeast infections.

The worst part is my beautiful infant daughter who was 100% breastfed got a yeast diaper rash.

After that crazy year I learned to start cutting back and saying no. No traveling on the holidays. My children had Christmas at their house.

All this is to say that I understand how in the midst of this terrible pandemic people are feeling gratitude that they finally have an excuse to slow down and cut back.
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I believe this pandemic, as serious as it is, has been serving as excellent "training" in case a more serious one comes along (which probably will at some point in the future). The mortality rate for COVID-19 has been mostly in the low single digits (on a percentage basis), but the next time it might be 50% or higher (or even 100%, making prevention absolutely essential). We've seen how critical information can be suppressed and where it has been done and by whom. We've seen how the public responds (or sometimes fails to respond) to official advice regarding how to lessen the spread of the disease. Finally, the pharmaceutical industry and government bureaucracy have been forced to work quickly to develop effective vaccines and approve/release them for use. Two big steps remain--distribution of the vaccines, and compliance in receiving them. Finally, getting people to remain vigilant during the vaccination stage until the authorities can determine that the risk has subsided (if it ever is) will be essential, and then a long-term plan to determine whether booster doses will be required at regular intervals.

We learn more and advance more during a crisis than we do when everything is "going well". I'm thankful for the progress that has been made and continues to be made.

I'm also thankful that "the markets" are still doing well such that retirement portfolios are mostly still intact, and hopedly will stay that way. I realize that some people who have lost jobs have had to use their portfolios for everyday living, but the more stable the portfolios, the more wealth is available for these people to use.

As Dr. Fauci has said, we are in the "home stretch" so hopedly by this time next year (if not several months earlier), our lives will be much better. Let's hope everyone remains sufficiently disciplined to prevent a huge after-holiday "wave" of new cases. The vaccines will be of no use to people who die before they can receive them.
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Maybe the “gift” of the virus can be acknowledgement of an awakening and give you the opportunity to create new behaviors around the stress of the holidays in the future. I think one of the greatest sadnesses in human behavior is when others guilt you into doing what you know is not in your best interest. You are not responsible for the happiness of others. Look at the underlying reasons why you felt such great relief in not participating this year, and why. Learn to say no in a kind and firm way. This has been a huge teaching moment if you can see it. Life didn’t come to a screeching halt when the usual family gatherings didn’t happen.
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I have had many positives during covid and I will be sad my life will go back to the way it was when this is over. I am very much a homebody so this has been fine for me.. My job was part-time stay at home before covid but has been full-time stay at home since March. They tell us we will be back in the office in July. No commute right now. No getting out of the house in the morning. Work-life balance is fantastic right now. When the gym has been open, they limit the amount of people in exercise classes so it has been nice. Lots of space to move around. Not so crowded. (Everything is cleaned,, sanitized,, and we all wear masks. ) Righr now, the gym is closed and this has absolutely been the worst part of this whole thing. And then there is my dad. For 5 years, I spent every Saturday afternoon with him. I would take him out and he had additional caregivers during the week that would do the same. This created a lot of strain on my marriage because I was never available on the weekend to do things with my family. I have had my Saturdays back since March and it has been great. Dad had to move from assisted living to skilled nursing during all of this but he is stabilized enough for memory care now so we may go that route. He will be insisting I take him out and about once things open up in a few months but I don't want to. He will want things like they were but he is now confined to a wheelchair (he was in a walker pre-covid). As his guardian,/conservator, I selfishly say that having him out of the picture has allowed me to better control the conservatorship of his money (he still felt the need to assist paying bills and would INSIST he be part of banking transactions pre covid),, the cars have been retired (caregivers used to drive them. They are old and worn down.) I was able to find his money hoard and get it deposited in the bank. The bill paying is a much easier process now with him out of the picture! No more taking him to the bank.. I'm going to try to limit visits to a couple times a month as father-daughter after this is over. I can't go back to the way it was. But my son, wife, grand babies live 5 doors down and we used to see them almost every day pre-covid and we continue to do so. No kisses for those grandkids, no face-to-face but hugs around my knees work for now!
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If you are Caregiving, you are most likely, always exhausted. Nothing wrong with honesty. It is perfectly normal to want rest and peace. Don't feel any quilt over not wanting to spend Thanksgiving with family. You took the time for rest. Rest is something to be thankful for.
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I am grateful to be in a rural area which means that COVID hasn’t changed much: there are no local restaurants to not be able to go to and no neighbors that I can’t go see. My friends have always been available online as they live in other states.

I’m grateful for increased access to spiritual teachers online.

I’m grateful for having an excuse to be a hermit, other than living with and taking care of parents. Plus, less in-person medical appointments means less driving.

I’m grateful that my loved ones are still alive when so many others have been taken by this pandemic. And I’m grateful for the relative economic stability I enjoy that is by privilege, being aware that not everyone is so fortunate.

And I’m grateful for this community!
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My mother isn’t talking to me in months and it’s been peaceful, I lost weight and going on walks.
I don’t break the silence bc this too is the least stressed I’ve been in years.

Carry on :)
Blessings all around 💜
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I see more children in the neighborhood playing and being physically active rather than being overscheduled.
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My husband is happier with less fuss over the holidays. He doesn't have to deal with family drama that ruins Christmas for him. I am happier with him not complaining.
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I am grateful b/c Dh started WFH and it made me completely re-think our retirement. We CANNOT share an office! His weird time frame for a day is very, very, annoying, but he's in 'travel mode' all the time, and treats his bedroom like a hotel room, seriously. It's a wreck. I've given up cleaning his room--told him was a lousy tipper and this maid was tired of cleaning out the bed b/c he snacks all night long.

Our house, very small (1800 sf) housed 5 kids and 2 adults and felt comfortably crowded, now feels like a small prison cell. Due to the fact DH is HOME all the time when he normally is out of town 3 weeks a month. I am NOT used to him being here all the time.

I have missed my grands as they have rolled in and out of quarantine for months, we now have 7/14 of them immune to covid and so Christmas will be us watching them open gifts through a window. I didn't mind 'small Thanksgiving' but Christmas is one traditional holiday and we won't have it this year.

Not being able to hug a good friend. Not being able to simply talk to a neighbor--as I try to gauge how 'anxious' they are about my presence.

Finding out I am a lot tougher than I thought. I got the all clear from cancer last year right before Christmas, got shingles the first of Jan and spent 2 semi-miserable months with that and doing FU chemo, then COVID hit. I felt very picked on (poor pitiful me, right?) Isolated pretty much 80% of the time. No seeing grandkids who live in the PNW this year at ALL--no seeing my SoCal kids all year....

family is everything, that's what I learned. Also that I have very few friends. Real friends. Gotta work on that :)

I hope the WORLD learned that we are not alone we are all in this together and better pull together and be better people all around. 2020 is one that I personally could forget, but it's the hard stuff that happens that makes us tougher, better people.
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I know I'm not going to put this correctly, so I apologize in advance if I hurt anyone's feelings...
While the virus has been awful, at least for me the silver lining was since everything shut down (including my work) I never had to make the choice of giving up work/vacations/socialization to elect to stay home with my mom, who by the time we were in full throttle with the virus, really couldn't be left alone for more than an hour or so, because she was such a fall risk. When I started to feel "trapped" by caregiving, I thought since everyone was pretty much stuck at home, I wasn't "missing out". By the time my work re-opened, mom was already on hospice and visibly nearing the end, so giving up work for the duration was a no-brainer. But earlier on in the pandemic, before mom was on hospice - that would have been a tougher choice; I'm grateful now that Covid made the choice for me.
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Now nobody thinks I am off because I rarely go anywhere.

House is decorated, got out the tablecloth, I am done.

No stress with feeling guilt for not wanting to travel

And maybe the best? The powers that be before covid were in my office complaining about something constantly. Now? Rarely see them and one of them has actually learned to use his email!😀
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I'm grateful that the virus has forced me to stay out of my mother's Memory Care ALF & made only window visits possible. The visits over there were wearing DH & I out.......she would insist we stay for hours and then complain when we left. It was getting to be too too much, in general. Nowadays, we can only visit her for 25 minutes while standing outside in the elements in Colorado........not always possible, since the weather here changes very dramatically very quickly. So we go when we can and stay for as long as we can, then leave. She can't complain, really, and that's that. It's simplified my life some, and for that I'm grateful.

I'm also happy I didn't have to cook for Thanksgiving this year; and I am not spending any money on Christmas presents or going crazy decorating the house & dealing with all that stress & company coming over, etc. It's nice NOT to have all that to deal with for ONE year. DH just got out of the hospital so it's imperative we both stay home & not have people in.

I'm also extremely grateful that my husband is still alive after surviving open heart surgery & pleural effusion surgery a couple of weeks later. He's past the 30 day mark now and 'out of the woods' so to speak.

I like your post actually.......I read something online the other day about keeping a gratitude journal during this pandemic since it's SO easy to get depressed with everything that's going on.
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Grateful for the fact I am 78, and have no job to lose. Only a life.
For not having to attend Holiday functions that were never my favorite things anyway.
For the fact that I am a recluse, so for me this isn't all that hard. Or all that different.
For the fact that the people I least like in the world are taking no measures, making them the most likely to, ummmmmm, make a final exit. (Sorry, we can either say I am being pragmatic, or that I have a mean streak; both things have, in my 78 years, been said often enough).
For the fact that on most days I don't have to insert my fake foob, replacing the breast lost to cancer 34 years ago, and for the fact that being a half flat Amazon doesn't draw eyes when there are no eyes around.
For the fact that all the things I love most are still around. A dog (I steal the tenant's regularly), a partner whose good for card games and other stuff, books, garden, walks, hamburgers, and etc.
ALL THAT in the SPIRIT of FUN you posted with, Kimber. Because.....
Now I have a much LONGER list of all the reasons I hate the Pandemic. MUCH longer. I am good at seeing things on the bright side.
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