[Cover Photo: the author with his Aunt Betty, 2011]
I had made it all the way through 2020 without personally knowing anyone infected during the coronavirus pandemic. Until New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, when my cousin called to tell me that her 90-year-old mother had been hospitalized with COVID pneumonia. Aunt Betty was my mother’s sister, and had been a fixture of my childhood and an integral part of my family festivities for decades, until a hip fracture resulted in her moving in with her daughter nine years ago. This disrupted our seasonal celebratory cycle, and I have only seen her sporadically since then.