Peeking Around the Corner

March 16, 2021       

A brief recap of early 2020 as I peek around the corner in 2021.

In February 2020, my son and his girlfriend, who live and work in Bangkok, Thailand, called to inform us of a virus outbreak in China. When my son called with the concerning news, I was reading David Quamann’s Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic about zoonotic diseases (diseases spread from animal to human).

That phone call was all it took for me to pay full attention and remain hyper alert for news out of China. My immediate anxiety was fed by my fascination with books, films, and documentaries of the pandemics of the past, disease, and outbreaks of deadly viruses. A decade prior, I’d read Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone and Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs & Steel. I was obsessed with documentaries on the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. Like many others, I was convinced we were about to experience the first pandemic since 1918.

As news began trickling out of China, I grew more anxious. When brave Chinese doctors leaked reports to the world of their fears and the inability to contain the deadly virus, I knew we, citizens of the world, would be affected–our lives would never be the same. When those same doctors, COVID-19 martyrs to me, were detained and soon died of the disease, fear gripped my heart. Tragically, the virus was proven to be as deadly as they’d predicted and feared.

As news reports of infections began to surface in Europe, the UK, then Washington State and New York City, everything I’d read in the book Spillover became real, immediate, and terrifying. I called family begging them to prepare. I ordered face masks, disposable gloves, and bottles of hand sanitizer and spray bottles of Clorox.

Interesting note and proud Mom moment: In 2020, the Thai company my son works for, Open Dreams, won the annual MIT Solve Competition with their incredible and timely app called PODD, Participatory Onehealth Disease Detection, that specifically traces zoonotic diseases in animals throughout Thailand. Amazing~!

So, with my passion for history, reading diaries and journals written during the Spanish Flu of 1918, and my love of writing mixed with a fascination of the great pandemics of our world, I did what came naturally–at the end of March 2020, I began to chronicle my daily life in lockdown.

The end of March also marked the last time I hugged and kissed my daughter, my sister, and my nephew. We’d gathered at my sister’s home on a warm Spring day to enjoy a wonderful al fresco lunch on her sunny deck. I took a group photo to commemorate the day, unsure of what lay ahead.

The year 2020 will be long remembered.

I was vaccinated with the first vaccine in early March. My second vaccine is scheduled for March 30. I have no fear of these life-saving vaccines. I feel hopeful, for the first time in a long time. I can’t wait to hug my kids and loved ones!

My one regret…and it’s a huge regret that revisits me as we peek around the corner in 2021– Trump didn’t do what he should have done in regard to rushing the roll out of COVID-19 vaccinations across the nation. The unnecessary, tragic deaths of over five hundred thousand Americans weigh on my heart and they should weigh heavy on his mind and heart.

Stay well. Wear your mask. Practice safe distancing. Get your vaccines.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing in 2019. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”. Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico. Her debut poetry collection, “Tight Knots. Loose Threads. Poems” is due for release in April 2021.

Eleanor is the mother of amazing adult children and currently lives in Berkeley County, West Virginia with her Chihuahua Sophie.

linktr.ee/EleanorParkerSapia

First Pandemic Lockdown Anniversary

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

March 16, 2021

I hope you and yours are well. I also hope you’ve received your first vaccine. Even better if you’ve had the second shot. If not, I hope you’re on a short list. That’s a lot of hope!

Two weeks ago, I received my first vaccine. I will admit to higher than normal blood pressure that morning and it rose as I stood in line in a gymnasium with hundreds of folks after a one year lockdown. But what a happy day. A few hours later, I had a sore arm and maybe two hours of a low-grade fever, mild chills, and a dull headache. No big deal! As a person with autoimmune disease, I thanked my body for doing what it does best–fighting disease. I imagined my immune system filled with tiny She warriors with spears at the ready! I joked with my kids that somewhere in my compromised, but beautiful immune system stood Gandalf The Grey on the bridge, shouting, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Yes, I have an active imagination and I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, smile.

Like many folks, I’d been on several vaccine lists. While it took two months to be notified with an appointment date, West Virginia has had one of the most successful and efficient vaccine rollouts in the nation. Some friends were surprised at that news because West Virginia is a red state. I don’t know about all that–I am thrilled with the vaccine roll-out in my adopted state!

My appointment for the second vaccine is scheduled for March 30. I’m a bit nervous about the reaction(s) that may occur with the second shot, but like Dr. Fauci says, ‘It’s certainly better than getting COVID.’ Amen. Get your vaccines.

March 11, 2021 marked the first anniversary of our US coronavirus-related lockdowns. To say 2020 was horrible doesn’t quite do our experiences justice, does it? I don’t know if there is one appropriate, all-encompassing adjective to accurately describe 2020 as our experiences are so different.

In my January 25, 2021 blog post (I can’t believe it’s been that long since I blogged), I said I wouldn’t rehash all that happened in 2020. Months later, I realize it wasn’t a matter of ‘I wouldn’t’, it was more like I couldn’t rehash all that had happened. At that time, I hadn’t processed it all, not even a little bit.

It’s often impossible to process the past if we’re in the thick of what ails us…and we are still living in a pandemic.

Yesterday, as I began this blog post, 548,058 Americans had died from COVID-19 and worldwide the number of deaths was 2,674,597 million. This morning, 549,484 Americans died. The worldwide number is 2,685,458. The numbers are heartbreaking and difficult to grasp. What my brain (and heart) has difficulty processing is how quickly the numbers rise, within minutes, seconds.

Families and loved ones of poor souls around the world who succumbed to the novel coronavirus have experienced a year of unadulterated hell. 2020 was a year of immense grief, paralyzing fear, perpetual anxiety, and unspeakable suffering. Although the number of deaths continues to rise, the number of cases is slowing down in the US, in large part because of President Biden and the government’s successful vaccine roll-out, and the quick turn-around of vaccine production and distribution. Thank God, Trump is gone.

Earlier in the month, it was reported that a staggering one in five Americans had experienced a death in the family. The suffering and exhaustion experienced by doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and caregivers is unfathomable. I don’t know how they do it day after day after day. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Stranger or friend, I don’t know one person who hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. Most of us still worry about the safety of our children, our loved ones. Unless, of course, you are a loyal MAGA follower, who still believes COVID-19 is one big hoax. In that case, I feel sorry for you.

Doctors and nurses across the US share story after story of patients on their death beds, who at the ends of their lives, still don’t believe in the reality of the virus. I would imagine a medical professional must feel enormous frustration, disbelief, and yes, anger as they care for and intubate non-believers and anti-vaxxers on their death beds.

I cannot fathom this mentality, this selfishness, this madness.

Stay safe, friends. Continue to wear your masks. Continue to practice social distancing and get your vaccines as soon as possible. I need to hug my children and my loved ones.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing in 2019. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”. Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico. Her debut poetry collection, “Tight Knots. Loose Threads. Poems” is due for release in April 2021.

Eleanor is the mother of amazing adult children and currently lives in Berkeley County, West Virginia with her Chihuahua Sophie.

linktr.ee/EleanorParkerSapia

Celebration and Major Changes

January 20-25, 2021

Happy days. Celebration. Relief. Tears. Hard work. Change. Accountability. Healing. Unity.

For me, healing must happen in that order. For as long as it takes.

Congratulations to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Devi Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. The Inaugural events were spectacular, moving, and most welcome!

On his first day in office, President Biden signed 15 executive orders.

During his first week as President of the United States of America, Biden signed, barred, repealed, revoked, put a moratorium in place, ordered, asked, and consulted.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty hopeful and relieved to have an adult in the White House. Amen. And Dr. Fauci is back. Hallelujah.

What am I hoping for? I’m hopeful President Biden will be the President to finally abolish the Jones Act. YES. It’s damn time. Thank all your Puerto Rican voters, Joe!

I’m watching, Joe. Waiting. Right over here. Do the right thing, Joe, for Puerto Rico.

Stay safe. Mask up, everyone.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

January 19, 2021: Lots of Feels

Thirteen hours from now, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. will become the 46th U.S. President. Kamala Devi Harris will be our Vice President, the first female Vice President, the first black of South Asian descent as Vice President. Tomorrow will be a historic day in US history, in women’s history, and black American history. A momentous day, indeed.

Today I was filled with restrained joy. Cautious hope. Sorrow. I pray for a return to sleeping through the night and not grinding my teeth. Lord knows, I feel hopeful for tomorrow. I do. But this week, that hope was mixed with sorrow, fear, and there’s tension in my shoulders. Our hearts are broken. We feel strong emotions today. We are in mourning. We need time to mourn as our family members, loved ones, friends, and strangers suffer and die from Covid-19. We mourn for those who took their lives last year and this year.

Today, a visibly emotional Joe Biden spoke in Delaware before his journey to Washington, DC. With grief etched on his face, he spoke about his son. I cried. What a blessing and relief to have a decent, compassionate man in the White House. Tomorrow at noon. Thank God.

Early in the 2020 Presidential campaign season, I explained my feelings and emotions to a friend. I felt as if I were dating a textbook narcissist, an abuser. Americans were gaslighted, lied to repeatedly, and we had the rug pulled out from under our feet over and over again by trump and his cowardly administration. We’ve endured a horrific four years under his presidency.

Tonight, I recognize much of what I feel. It resembles the anxiety and fear I felt the night before I left our family home in Brussels, heading to the US with my college-bound children and toward a divorce after a long-time marriage. I could not fully relax until 20, 30 minutes after our plane took off. It was awful.

As surprising as it feels now, it would take a few years to stop looking over my shoulder and thinking in a more positive manner. I believe Joe Biden’s presidency will feel like that for most of us. For as long as white supremacists, far-right extremist groups, and Q-Anon believers live among us, we must remain vigilant. They’ve already shown us who they are.

We will mourn our dead and we will never forget. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in this country. The 400 lights along the Washington Reflecting Pool are beautiful. I hope they remain in place as a forever tribute to the over 400,000 COVID deaths in this country.

Tomorrow, we will celebrate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. I pray Joe Biden and his administration begin work immediately to find all the missing immigrant children and reunite them with their suffering parents and families. Innocent victims of trump and his callous, ruthless, and heartless administration.

Finally, we will celebrate trump’s final exit from the White House at the butt crack of dawn. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I can’t wait for his trial(s). May he never ever hold public office again. Nor his daughter. smh

Praying and thinking good thoughts for the swearing-in ceremony tomorrow. Prayers tonight for those who lost their lives to the novel coronavirus and their loved ones. Prayers for those who are suffering tonight. I send you a warm virtual hug.

Stay strong, be well.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

IMPEACHED. TWICE.

January 13, 2021

Photo by Tim Gouw on Pexels.com

Surprised? A week ago, the US Capitol was overwhelmed, stormed, and invaded by a mob. People were beaten. Five died. How is anyone surprised he was impeached? Yet today, millions of Americans are enraged, in disbelief–their leader was impeached again. Today was one for the history books–the 45th President of the United States was impeached a second time–the first time in American history.

As I see it, there’s not much the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans agree on. We disagree on national issues, the economy, on immigration, climate change, and government reach. During the past five years, we clearly haven’t seen eye to eye on zero-tolerance immigration issues, Black Lives Matter, anti-Semitism, white supremacy, racism, Covid-19 relief money, misogyny, separating immigrant children from their parents, caging immigrant infants and children, and then losing over 600 immigrant children in our current system. Don’t forget the children. I won’t ever forget.

We disagree on mask-wearing, social distancing, protecting our fellow Americans from a deadly virus, on vaccinations, and what constitutes a right/freedom. Folks still deny we’re living in a deadly global pandemic and still call COVID-19 a hoax. How do you deal with that mentality? Let me know when you figure it out.

Today, Trump loyalists are still screaming, “Stop the steal!”. Staunch Trump supporters and cowardly Republicans still believe Biden is the illegitimate winner of the 2020 Presidential election. Today, the House of Representatives voted to impeach this president. Ten Republican Senators voted for impeachment, a bipartisan impeachment. When was the last time that happened?

Tonight, many questions persist. New theories have come to light, and the FBI investigation continues into the US Capitol insurrection.

Why was there a glaring lack of police presence at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021? Where was the National Guard?

Why didn’t Trump walk to the US Capitol with his people as he said he would? Actually, that one’s easy to answer–he never intended to walk anywhere.

How in the world did the insurgents find Speaker Nancy Pilosi’s office so quickly? What about finding Majority Whip James Clyburn’s secret office?

Who removed the panic buttons from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s office prior to the Capitol riot?

Was the insurrection a planned event or spontaneous event? An inside job? By whom?

What should be done to the non-mask-wearing Republicans, who sheltered in place with Democrats, who are now Covid-19 positive? Can the GOP members be fined and removed from their jobs?

Will GOP members be allowed to carry their weapons into any government building? Can they choose to not go through metal detectors? Will they be fined? Removed from their jobs?

Will Trump be convicted in a Senate trial?

Should President-elect Joe Biden’s outdoor swearing-in ceremony proceed as planned? Are 20,000 National Guard members enough to keep everyone present at the inauguration safe?

Truth, justice, and accountability must happen before we begin talks of unity. Welcome to 2021. So many questions. So many investigations. So many warnings, and it’s only January 13.

In my state, 80+ year-olds received their vaccines, which is wonderful. Seventy-plus-year-olds will receive their first vaccine this weekend. My group is next.

On the writing front, I submitted my poetry collection to my publisher last week. I believe we decided on a great title, and I’m hoping for an April publication date–Poetry Month. I’m excited!

Be safe and continue to wear your mask.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

Capitol Hill Insurrection

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Photo by Jesus Con S Silbada on Pexels.com

Well, damn. The new year started with a BANG, literally. Shocking and sad, but not surprising. Tonight, I am still a bit shell-shocked and more than alarmed as dozens of news reports roll out with accompanying videos shot from different angles, inside and outside the US Capitol.

On Monday, I’d expressed concern to a friend about the MAGA crowds in DC. By Tuesday, the crowd seemed to grow in size and unruliness. I watched trump rile up his base, along with his son, Senators Cruz, McCarthy, and a junior Senator named Josh Hawley.

Today is Three King’s Day. As I replied to a Facebook message, a video popped up on my laptop screen. The Now Then video showed a large chanting mob at the US Capital, waving trump flags, Confederate flags, and placards with the words, “Stop the steal”.

I expected all that. It was nothing new, however, something felt different from previous trump rallies I’d watched. The intense rage of the crowd was palpable. Their faces were contorted in rage. I spotted camo jackets, gas masks, bull horns, American flags. Some protestors shoved reporters, yelled in their faces. Not a face mask to be seen in a sea of red MAGA hats. Then I saw a guy waving an American flag tied to a pitchfork. Something ugly and violent was about to go down. You could feel it. And go down it would, in a way I never thought I’d see in this country. Yet equally, not at all surprising.

Minutes later, a cameraman panned the crowd. Before I knew it, the mob surged forward. Folks clamored over the concrete barriers, ran up the steps of the Capital and fanned out in front of a small group of Capital Hill police. Holy shit. I immediately posted on Facebook. Why wasn’t the National Guard in full force? Where was the FBI? Homeland Security? This was no longer a crowd of protestors. It looked like a riot. How could the powers that be have missed that this protest could turn violent? Was the lack of police presence and push-back planned? By whom? I had my suspicions. I turned on the news.

The next videos were shot inside the Capitol. They were chilling. I felt nauseated. A bloody woman was rushed out on a stretcher. The president was silent. What the hell was going on?

An hour later or less, President-elect Joe Biden used the words domestic terrorists. Their crime? Insurrection. It is what it is.

The differences between the Black Lives Matters rallies and protests last summer and this mob are stark, black and white. The treatment of the mob and those who illegally entered the Capital and exited with souvenirs, smiles, and jeers was breathtaking, shocking. I joined millions of Americans who asked the question:

What would have happened if the mob had been black? Brown? I shudder to think what a blood bath that would have been.

In the next days, we’ll watch the GOP sidestep, lie, and present the case that trump did not, in fact, incite a riot, an insurrection. They will again gaslight the American public. But friends, myriad news videos, selfies, first-hand accounts, thousands of photographs will show the truth. And soon, patriotic friends and family members will point fingers and accuse the insurrectionists, who didn’t even bother to wear masks. Nice.

The majority of American people want trump out. The majority of Americans want his Republican henchmen and women out. We voted.

Most of us believe that deadly, bloody insurrection was inspired, incited, and led by the president of the United States. And it’s not over. Some say it’s only the beginning. Trump will be impeached. The first US president in history to be impeached twice will be Donald J. Trump.

Justice and accountability first. Unity second or third. Will this country ever see unity? That remains to be seen. I seriously doubt I will see real unity in my lifetime. I pray I’m wrong.

I pray Joe Biden and everyone at the Presidential Inauguration are safe on January 20th.

Stay safe and continue to wear your mask. Tragically, people are still dying in record numbers.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

2020. What Can I Say?

December 31, 2020

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

Welcome to the end of 2020. Trump’s sideshow. The reality TV presidency. The hellish year. The year of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The year the majority of Americans woke up or finally believed the epic past and present greed and corruption perpetuated in this country by voting. The year most Americans finally acknowledged or looked at the abuses committed against minorities, the poor, LGBTQ folks and against immigrant families. Even my staunch Republican family member, who voted twice for trump, voiced her distaste for trump. That’s saying a lot.

I’m not going to write about 2020 in this blog post–the good, the bad, and the ugly of this pandemic year. We lived it. We’re still in it. You, me, and our loved ones. Our neighbors, friends, and strangers. Many of us are suffering, dying, and on the verge of emotional meltdowns/break downs. Too many have died. This year was a royal bitch and we’re nowhere near out of it.

American hospitals are in crisis. Our healthcare workers and healthcare facilities are overwhelmed and exhausted. In LA County, 14, 000 people a day test positive for Covid-19, that’s every 10-15 minutes. A new, more virulent strain of this virus is in the US. Two cases already. I heard a frightening report about a shortage of oxygen tanks in California. Oxygen. Holy God.

The goal to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of the year? Not happening. Only 2+ million Americans have received the first vaccine. So. Stay home. Wear your mask and keep doing your part to stop the spread of this virus. Hang on and stay safe. Vaccinations are coming. When? Well, that remains a big unknown. I pray our heroines and heroes on the front lines of this pandemic have already received their vaccines and that the rest of us are vaccinated by Spring 2021.

I started writing this 2020 Pandemic Diary on March 15, 2020. I’m amazed I kept it up. It wasn’t easy. I’m saving all my pandemic posts for my children and those who will come after us.

I honestly don’t have a lot to say on the last day of 2020, except that I’ve learned many important lessons. Living alone, which I’ve always enjoyed for making art, was an absolute bitch.

The first pandemic blog post:

https://thewritinglifeeparker.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/pandemic-diary-working-from-home/

I wish you good health in 2021. Good health. As I’ve always believed, that’s everything.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an as yet untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

Back in the Day

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

This week, in a normal year (remember those?), I would have donated and helped hand out canned goods and coats at the mission down the street. I would have picked up a fresh turkey, fresh cranberries, baking and sweet potatoes, spinach, corn, and the ingredients for baking bread, muffins, and pumpkin pies for Christmas dinner.

If it was my turn to host our family, the white linen tablecloth and napkins would be pressed, white candles bought, the good plates washed and the silver polished. I would have gathered greenery, berries, and picked grape leaves from the grapevines in the courtyard to decorate the grapevine wreaths on my front door and the kitchen door. I love Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, the appropriate-sized baking pans, bowls, pots, and cooking utensils would be washed and ready for morning. Cookbooks propped open to favorite family recipes, piled one on top of the other in order of preparation, would wait on the oak table in my kitchen. The aroma of simmering cinnamon sticks, cloves, cranberries, and orange peel would fill my home as I wait for my children to arrive. I’m happiest when surrounded by my children and family.

Around 8 in the morning, still in my pajamas with a good café con leche, food prepping would begin–cutting, chopping, dicing, boiling mashing, sautéing, and blanching—with Christmas music playing in the background. My children would join me later in the kitchen. We have wonderful memories of Christmases past.

Christmas 2020 will be different.

This Christmas season, I’m blessed to spend time with my daughter and her boyfriend and we will sorely miss my son and his girlfriend. We will miss family. The separations will remind us how different this holiday season is, but what is normal this year? Not much. Our lives will never be the same…and if I think on it, for some of us, that’s a very good thing. Change is good. And Lord knows, this nation needs drastic changes.

Despite the challenges, heartaches, and anxiety of 2020, we shall make new memories, have fun, take photographs to share with each other at a later time, and count ourselves truly blessed.

From my home to yours, I wish you a safe and healthy holiday season. Stay safe.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and a collection of poems, titled “Thoughts on Near-Fictional Relationships”. The poems are about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

Thanksgiving 2020 – Blessings and Necessary Sacrifices

4 am, Thanksgiving morning.

** This morning, I discovered this blog post was not published. I know. My brain feels fuzzy and my sleep patterns have been disrupted this holiday season. To be sure, it’s way too early to be up. I guess old habits die hard.

On this American holiday, I give all thanks to the Native American community and their ancestors. I think of the Spaniards, who settled in Florida and founded St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, in September 1565. One hundred years before the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. One hundred years. It is more than time to rewrite American history books.

This holiday season, as Covid-19 rampages across this country, some people still refuse to wear masks and practice social distance. Airports are filled with passengers traveling home for the holiday. I will celebrate alone. In quarantine without my children and my family. For the first time. No cooking, no baking. No laughter in my kitchen, no stories around the dinner table. If I’m entirely honest, I will endure the day. Too dramatic? Yeah, it is.

Like me, millions of parents and grandparents are without their beloved children and cherished grandchildren today. Most parents won’t know what the hell to do with themselves. Millions of young adults are away from their families and friends. Many single folks, who’ve lived alone for years and years, will really feel alone today. I feel you.

All this makes me sad and nostalgic. I’m grieving the past. No one told me this would happen in my 60s and the only way I know how to snap out of this is to acknowledge my feelings, write it out, and count my many blessings.

I’m alive. Today, I woke up relatively healthy and virus-free. Thankfully, so are my children and family members. That’s why I’m celebrating Thanksgiving alone this year–I want to see my daughter and her boyfriend at Christmas (we’ll isolate for two weeks beforehand and drive to our rented cabin), and I want to see my son and his girlfriend in 2021. The only way to do that is to isolate myself along with my baby, my quarantine buddy, my Chihuahua named Sophie.

We are very fortunate. Today, many Americans don’t have roofs over their heads, they are out of work, and no paychecks are coming in. Families are going hungry and businesses are shuttering their doors. Please consider donating to the many organizations feeding people this holiday season and beyond.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have tragically died and hundreds of thousands more are suffering with the virus. A dear friend and his wife are currently battling the virus and I’m very worried about them. People are dying alone. Family members are saying their last goodbyes to loved ones over cell phones and laptops. It’s horrendous, unimaginable, yet it’s happening across this nation and around the world. Our heroes, the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, are exhausted and emotionally traumatized.

For the sake of your family members and friends, strangers, and hospital personnel, stay home. It’s one day. A long weekend for some. As my friend said, “Better to miss Thanksgiving this year than to be ventilated in ICU for Christmas and the new year.” Amen.

Stay safe. January 20, 2021 can’t come soon enough.

Eleanor x

ABOUT ELEANOR:

Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.

Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and a collection of poems, titled “Thoughts on Near-Fictional Relationships”. The poems are about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.

PREVOLU, December 2020 Edition

Congratulations to Yessenia Lantigua, founder of Prevolu, an awesome digital arts platform, and all those who helped launch their sleek website!

I’m proud to be a featured writer in their debut December 2020 monthly digital art series with my poem – Independence.

Check out the talented Boricua artists and musicians working on the island and in the diaspora.

December BORI artist at @prevolu

Featured BORI artist at www.prevolu.com