Growing up we celebrated Thanksgiving at my uncle’s house. That was probably the only day that my Afghan-American family would actually make turkey with all its fixings and “Afghan Food” on the side, for those of us who didn’t really want or like turkey.
Between our families, relatives and friends, we were easily a group of 20 or 25 people. It was loud, fun and filled with love. Life changed, as the years went by, my uncle passed away and I took on hosting Thanksgiving. My parents always enjoyed being at my house and praised my husband for his cooking. We were a smaller group, but we were grateful for one another. Three years ago, my parents both passed away, and for me Thanksgiving, became difficult. I started going away for the holiday, avoiding their absence.
This Thanksgiving is a very different kind of holiday for all Americans, as the covid-19 virus surges and public health and government officials are calling on us to resist gatherings. More than 250,000 lives have been lost, with a thousand more lost daily because of the virus. For those families, who may not have even gathered to mourn their loved one, there will be no Thanksgiving gathering. I think that we are all grieving what the virus has done to our lives. Yet still, despite everything that life throws at us there is still plenty of reasons to be thankful.
I’m grateful for the food, shelter, and that a vaccine that is on the way. I’m grateful for all the people that I have in my life. My family and my friends, that connection is everything to me. We will get through this together. Life will return to a new kind of normal and this will one day be a memory. There is a silver lining, crisis brings out the best in people. It reminds us why it’s important to celebrate every day and share our love with family, neighbors, and friends. It reminds us of how lucky we are and how important it is to take care of ourselves, our communities, and our planet.