Love Letter: Craving Comfort and Connection

By Charanna Alexander

Since the onset of Covid-19, many people have found themselves feeling nostalgic for more certain times. For C Pam Zhang, the writer of this week’s Modern Love essay, her quick cure for heartache, grief and the isolation of the pandemic is the simple pleasure of her favorite childhood treat — crispy, golden chicken nuggets. The calming properties of processed chicken have brought her both comfort and a deeper connection to her father, who died eight years ago.

With Covid-19 far from contained, experts have cautioned strongly against holiday gatherings this year. “The ultimate gift you can give people you love is not to get anybody infected,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota.

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Here are a few tips on how to cope with being separated from loved ones this holiday season, from people who’ve spent long spells alone — including an astronaut who spent nearly a year in space.

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