Delayed Life

5 min readJan 13, 2022

Dealing with Changed Plans

I turned sixty early in December.

The original plan, made back in 2019, was to travel to Bali, to be someplace warm, possibly on a beach, celebrating my big day.

Then 2020 happened. That plan, plus the plans to travel to Guatemala in spring of 2020, went right out the window.

The day before my sixtieth birthday, my husband received his booster shot. So I spent the day of my birthday taking care of him. Had a very quiet day. Fixed myself left-overs for dinner.

However, I knew that was going to be the case ahead of time. I wasn’t disappointed, or even sad. Quite frankly, my husband getting a booster shot was kind of the best birthday present I could have, keeping him safe from the plague. (Thank you, science!)

I made us reservations that weekend at a really nice hotel in downtown Seattle — a room on the water with an electric fireplace. It was lovely. We had a cocktail downstairs in the lounge (also overlooking the water), went to a very fancy dinner, and just generally relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.

My family gets together every other year for Christmas. This was supposed to be an “on” year for us. I bought airplane tickets, reserved the hotel and the rental car, way back in June. everything was all arranged.

Then one of my grand-nieces came down with a break-thru case of COVID. So they had to cancel. (My niece also came down with it a few days later.) The family held a zoom call the Monday before Christmas to talk about the situation.

I have another niece who graduated from medical school in June of this year. She talked about the hell that is currently her hospital. Now, I’ve read about accounts of horrific things happening in hospitals. But this was my niecetelling me stories about their ICU being at 140% capacity. They had a “do not bring patients here” order out, but an ambulance still dropped someone off, who ended up staying in the entrance way of the hospital for nine hours.

And so on.

She was afraid that if we traveled to my family’s location, if something else happened, say, someone came down with appendicitis, would we be seen in time? Or would we die from lack of emergency care because the hospitals were…


Leah Cutter sold her first short story back in 1997, and continues to write and sell both her fiction and non-fiction. She supports herself with her writing.