Coming Through a COVID-19 Christmas With Grateful Hearts

This holiday season didn't go as planned. But does it ever?

Patrice Williams avatar

by Patrice Williams |

Share this article:

Share article via email
Main graphic for column titled

You guys. Why didn’t you message and tell me to “hush your face” after my last column? Someone should have said, “Patrice, you, my friend, are an idiot. Why did you say it out loud? Why did you pretend to have control? Why did you think you had the power to manifest anything?”

Apparently, I did have the power to manifest something. It just wasn’t the hap-hap-happiest Christmas. It was freakin’ COVID-19. Twelve days after my fateful post in early December, I developed some annoying drainage in the back of my throat. I was “aheming” a lot. To be extra cautious, I came home from work early and took a test. To my complete surprise, I tested positive. That was on Dec. 20.

Almost three years after COVID-19 first came to the United States, we were still blessed enough to be in the fewer than 20% of Americans who hadn’t gotten it. I went down first, followed by my husband, Matt. Then Jonah, our son with epidermolysis bullosa, and finally, although asymptomatic, our other son, Gideon.

And so my do all the things holiday turned into a 15-day quarantine. Two weeks of at-home, forced, somewhat snotty introversion. I literally got into my car to do a grocery pickup the other day and felt like I had forgotten how to drive.

I suffered two days of high fevers and aches, and then a few additional days of congestion. Matt had a couple days of low-grade fever and about a week of congestion. Jonah ran a low-grade fever and had congestion for six days. Gideon, as is his nature, continued bouncing off the walls without a care in the world.

Before we got sick, we did manage to drive around and see some lights, watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and bake and decorate cookies for our neighbors — which we then promptly had to throw away.

Recommended Reading
A doctor holds a clipboard while consulting with a patient.

Epidermolysis Bullosa Treatment Helps Keep Disease Stable: Study

A dark photo of a living room decorated for Christmas, with a Christmas tree in the background and a television screen on. In the foreground are freshly baked and decorated Christmas sugar cookies with various colors of frosting and sprinkles.

Patrice, Jonah, and, Gideon Williams got to bake and decorate Christmas cookies, which they later had to throw away, one day before Patrice became symptomatic with COVID-19. (Photo by Patrice Williams)

Counting our blessings

We were totally bummed to have to cancel all of our Christmas plans and desperately missed hanging out with our New York family, who was in town for two weeks. On the morning of Christmas Eve, we woke up to 7-degree temperatures, no power, no water, and no way to go anywhere else. I maybe had a small panic attack before it popped back on three hours later. (The truest-to-me meme I’ve ever seen says, “I’ll get over it, I just need to be dramatic first.” I’m a freakin’ delight in times of crisis.)

But overall, I’m so thankful. I don’t know what this would have looked like for Jonah if he had gotten COVID-19 two-and-a-half years ago. We were so careful, masked everywhere we went, and jumped on vaccines and boosters as soon as they were available. Over time, between so many people getting COVID-19 and the vaccines, the severity lessened. And I’m just so thankful that he did so well. It wasn’t worse for him than a normal viral cold. And I honestly think it could have made him seriously ill early on. Science is the best. I owe his health, and maybe even his life, to researchers, scientists, doctors, and, I’m pretty sure, to Dolly Parton.

We were so well loved, even in our disappointment. My dad and his wife brought dinner one of the first nights while I was still quarantined in my bedroom. Later, Matt’s mom brought every single holiday meal she made for the family, including appetizer treats and desserts. She made at least three trips across town on Christmas and the days surrounding it. And then, a couple days later, friends of ours dropped off barbecue, mac and cheese, and green beans.

We ate well, which was exciting since we all kept our sense of taste! In addition to all of these, I turned down offers from multiple other friends offering to pick up or drop off whatever we needed.

Two young brothers stand in front of a decorated Christmas tree, both wearing plaid pajamas.

Jonah, right, and his brother, Gideon, pose in front of the tree in their Christmas Eve pajamas. (Photo by Patrice Williams)

Obviously, this COVID-19 Christmas was not what I had hoped for, and it certainly wasn’t the one I had attempted to speak into existence. But, I came out of it with two things: a beyond grateful heart for science and all the people who worked so hard to develop a vaccine, and the feelings of love and being treasured that one hopes to have at Christmastime. We certainly weren’t short on those.

We had a warm house and each other. As a family, we watched movies, played games, snuggled our dogs, and enjoyed fires in the fireplace. The boys were (mostly) good and (mostly) didn’t kill each other. It could have been so much worse. I don’t take that for granted.

A man wearing large glasses and dressed in a green hoodie and pajama bottoms sits in a reclining chair with a dog on his lap.

Matt, Jonah’s dad, snuggles Joey, one of the family dogs, on Christmas morning. (Photo by Patrice Williams)

But next year, we’re gonna … JK JK. I’ve learned my lesson. Next year will be what it is. And whatever that is, it will be enough.

Note: Epidermolysis Bullosa News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Epidermolysis Bullosa News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to epidermolysis bullosa.


Brenda Keys avatar

Brenda Keys

Patrice, once again an exceptional story about life with EB and life in general. So sorry you and your family had to go through Covid over Christmas. But blessings it was what it was and Jonah is good! Absolutely love, love, love your stories!

Patrice avatar


Thank you, Brenda! Love to your family!


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.