For many people, today is Thanksgiving. A day when family and friends gather to celebrate, reconnect and give thanks. Well, that’s what usually happens on Thanksgiving…but given COVID-19 and the ever rising numbers of infections and death, Thanksgiving will or at least SHOULD play out differently.
I know only too well how isolation can affect you. While dealing with breast cancer I was home bound for months. Too much time alone plays havoc with your psyche. Your energy level decreases, your anxiety levels increase and your fears for the future run rampant through your brain.
COVID-19 has brought that all back and added another level of worry…the fear that someone I love could get sick. With my cancer journey, I dealt with the anxiety of my own health and future, but with COVID, I now fear for my friends and family. Yes, I am vulnerable because of my compromised immune system, but I am VERY careful and don’t take any unnecessary risks. But I have elderly (Sorry Mom), parents with underlying health conditions. They live in a small town which is a blessing but they aren’t diligent about keeping to a strict “bubble” of friends. They are very social people and restricting who they see has presented a challenge. The fact that they are so social is a blessing as it has kept them young at heart and active…but I worry. The town they live in has had no cases of COVID…yet! As the Christmas holidays approach, more people will be traveling and possibly bringing the virus with them. And that’s a big concern. I saw a piece on the news last night about a family who got together to celebrate their father’s 99th birthday. There were twelve in the family that traveled from all over the United States to celebrate. Each person self isolated for 14 days before and all took COVID tests to insure that they tested negative for the virus. They social distanced when they came together and wore masks. They did all the right things…or so they thought. After all, their father was turning 99…no one wanted to risk his health…and yet they came together in a large group…and yes, a few days later they ALL TESTED POSITIVE! Fortunately no one died, but several ended up in hospital and are still dealing with the after effects of COVID.
Look, I love a party as much as anyone. I love getting together with friends and family. I miss hugging people and having impromptu gatherings. I miss traveling and concerts and plays and yes even crowds…but I would miss losing someone I love a whole hell of a lot more!
Today, American Thanksgiving, many of you have had to adjust your plans. It is hard. It sucks. It feels like this pandemic is never going to end. But it will if we stay strong and follow the guidelines set out by the medical world. Wear masks, social distance, wash your hands and don’t gather in large groups. By following these rules we are actually showing each other how much we love and care for them. Never in a million years did I think that by staying away from those I care about would be a way to say I love you.
Today, and every day I give thanks for all that I have. I have survived cancer. I have a wonderful family. I have friends that I cherish…and miss, but know we will be all together again one day…soon!
This year has been tough. We have all been affected and have experienced loss. But we are going to get through this. We have to. So today, whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving or not, take a moment and think about all that you have to be thankful for. Remember, being happy doesn’t mean we have it all…it simply means we are happy for all we have.
#Thanksgiving #COVID19 #cancer #breastcancer #cancersurvivor #anxiety #givethanks #mentalhealth #happiness
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.