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Credit: Hallmark Entertainment/Courtesy of the Everett Collection

What should have been simply a happy occasion for the actress and her family was… well, let’s just say that it got all 2020’d up.

As the day drew near for Vanessa Marcil to celebrate the 79th birthday of her mother, Patricia Ortiz, the General Hospital alum’s heart was heavy. “We haven’t seen my mom for 10 months,” she shared on Instagram on December 6. “We are used to her living with us for [my son] Kass’ whole life.

“This year,” she added, “was supposed to be the greatest year of all of our lives. My son’s year.” (You may recall that Kassius virtually graduated from high school this summer; if you don’t, see below.)

Alas, as it did for all of us, 2020 had other ideas. “I’m truly heartbroken for a number of reasons and still know that I must remain grateful for so much,” Brenda’s former portrayer said. “My heart is broken for all of the families who are suffering such great loss. I feel the pain of all beautiful souls just trying to survive and care for their children.”

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Finally, on the 6th, Marcil and Kassius had taken all of the necessary precautions to see her mom and his grandma, albeit at a distance, in person as she turned 79. “Kass and I have never gone more than a few weeks without seeing Gagoo,” noted the Emmy winner. Until then, it had “been almost a year. I’m sad, mad and confused. We are devastated and still somehow hopeful.

“All at once,” she added.

A day later, Marcil posted pictures and video from the get-almost-together. And what a difference it had made. It’s “amazing how much better we all feel today,” she exclaimed. And she was already looking ahead. “Next year for Gagoo’s 80th, we are gonna party together like it’s 1999… ”

Recently, the soap vet also took to Instagram to boost the spirits of a cancer patient (and at the same time raise money for her son’s cat-rescue fund). And, of course, her every other post at least seems like it’s dropping hints about a return to General Hospital. (Take, for instance, the one in which she shared her reaction to a proposed Brenda/Jason hookup.)

Hey, there’s certainly room for Sonny’s old flame to turn up the heat in Port Charles right about now. Just look at all of the recent/imminent exits from the show in the photo gallery below.