This Year I am Thankful for All the People That Have Shaped Me

By Nadia Al-Samarrie

It has taken a global pause button for me to reflect on the things I am thankful for. Unlike most years, when I am rushed working, pushing to meet deadlines, shopping for gifts, my relief and greatest joy come from anticipated family and friends’ gatherings.

 

2020 feels like a doorstop. One minute it’s open with a room full of possibilities. The next minute it’s shut for an unknown time. As a woman-owned business, an independent publisher, my heart goes out to all the shops and restaurants whose hands have been forced into financial duress. Typically, in my world, the holidays usher in an open heart with forgiveness, hope, and miracles.

 

The angels, our healthcare professionals, are the exhausted soldiers on the battlefield, witnessing loss daily with no end in sight. In what world could we have imagined that a hug and a kiss could kill someone?

 

I am deeply sorry for those who have lost loved ones. Their absence leaves us with a heavy heart, especially around the first holiday season. My mother passed away in 2000. I never stop missing her or my brother, who passed away in 2011. Now, I look back, remembering their love and kindness in just being who they are.

 

My all-time favorite Christmas holiday was when my mother, sister, and brother all went to Saint Paul’s Kitchen to serve the homeless a Christmas meal. The diner’s heavy hearts felt light. For a moment, the holiday spirit exulted everyone’s loss. It was a festive day with unconditional love for all.

 

No other time in history have we felt a camaraderie with our global community. For the first in my lifetime, the world is experiencing the same challenges, no matter where one lives or what language they speak. The global pandemic has brought us together in unifying what we need to do as a world community to beat COVID-19.

 

Wherever you are, know you are loved and supported, even when you can’t see it.

 

I wish everyone a Happy Holiday! You have made me a better person in sharing your most personal stories. The diabetes community is remarkable. Anytime I meet a Diabetes Health tribe member, I feel an instant bond even though we all experience diabetes differently.

Most importantly, we understand how disruptive it can be. At the same time, we come together to inspire one another. It comes with your transparency, honesty, your stories of imperfection, reminding us that we are all challenged in one way or another. We need each other. The day I am not feeling strong, you are my strength. Never underestimate your contribution to the communities you participate in. We are who we are because of the life experiences that have shaped us.

May you all find joy, the candle that lights your path, even when you don’t know where you are going.

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