City Manager Ludlow's Holiday Message of Hope as we Move into 2021
As I have been for almost every year for 27 years, I am at work on Christmas Eve, which is a half-day workday for City staff. I traditionally get some work done, talk to staff in different departments and then, at 12:30, make sure the doors are closed and the lights turned off. This year, most doors have been locked since March and the building has a few staff inside, although many are working at home or in the field. Very strange indeed. And yet we persist.
Holidays are always both joyous and hard. My heart goes out to all who have lost family members this year or who have had a difficult time. Although my husband died three years ago, I have felt his loss more this year. And, I lost a nephew to suicide two weeks ago – which I believe is an indirect COVID-19 death. Many City staff have lost loved ones this year and I so appreciate that they continue to work to serve the residents of Takoma Park despite the difficulty in doing so.
One thing that surprised me after my father’s death 20+ years ago is how his love continues. I didn’t know what to expect when he died, and it has been wonderful to know that the memories and counsel of my father, mother and husband remain. For those who are having a very difficult time, I recommend the book, Healing After Loss by Martha Whitmore Hickman. I still find it useful.
There is much to be hopeful about as we move into the year 2021. Thank you to the researchers, scientists, volunteers and others who have developed COVID-19 vaccines! Over the next six months, everyone should be vaccinated unless there is a medical reason not to receive the vaccine. This is the only way to save lives, reopen schools and stores, and get back to the communal everyday life we so badly need.
I am reminded of a story I think I read in a Reader’s Digest years ago. A flood warning had gone out to a community and a resident said he wasn’t leaving his house because “God will protect me.” The floodwaters were at waist level when a man in a boat came by to get him and the man turned him away, saying “God will protect me.” As the floodwaters deepened and the man was on his roof, a helicopter came by to get him and the man said, “No, God will protect me.” The man drowned. When he then saw God, he said, “What happened? Why didn’t you save me?” God replied, “I sent you a warning, a boat and a helicopter, what more did you need!”
Whatever your faith, please heed the sound health care advice: wear a mask, avoid large gatherings, and get a vaccine as soon as you are able.
The City has a terrific COVID-19 resource page that you should check periodically. It includes information on testing, as well as food, financial and mental health resources. And, as we get information on vaccination plans, we will help share it.
One of my brothers wrote in a message to me this morning, “As in other countries, there are masses of people who are ready for more truth, more peace, more justice, more freedom, more environmental responsibility than our so-called leaders give us credit for.” This particular brother is one that I expected to die this year but now is out of hospice care. It is one of the best holiday presents I could have hoped for.
I hope the miracle of love comes your way this holiday season. We will get through all of this together!