Each day we awake to a world in which health, good fortune, justice, well-being, and community exist side by side with illness, suffering, injustice, despair, and isolation. While most of us will experience to greater or lesser degree the whole panorama of life’s ups and downs, I know that there are far too many people who know only illness, suffering, injustice, despair, and isolation. From my desk in Florida, I need look no farther than the nearby island nation of Haiti for daily reminders of just how closely life and death coexist for many. But I do not need to look to the horizon for reasons to be grateful. As a previvor, a woman from three generations of breast cancer survivors, and a woman with an autoimmune disease that took my hair, but not my health, I need look no farther than my own family for reasons to be grateful.
I sense and I share the growing cynicism around our increasingly commercialized holidays. It helps me to look back, to remember what holidays meant before they were partially reduced to spikes in the national GDP line graphs. It also helps me to look out. Through 4Women, I am in the humbling position of serving women at one of the scariest and most emotionally devastating times in their lives.
I wish health, family, and joy to all of the women who have touched and lifted my spirit reaching out to me for an ear, a heart of understanding, and a beaubeau head scarf to boost their self-esteem. I give thanks each and every day that I can play some tiny part in brightening someone else’s day.