First Family Thanksgiving in Two Years

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There is no replacement for family. Mentioning the pandemic almost feels like the movie Groundhog’s day with how long we’ve been progressing through one of the most life-changing circumstances we’ve dealt with in our lifetimes. Yet, familial bonds are some of the strongest bonds we can forge in life. Even though the omicron variant is looming overhead, I am grateful that we can celebrate family traditions. This month I want to showcase my appreciation for family and other aspects of my life that I love. 

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two main holidays where my extended family comes together to eat and share gifts. While some families can have a small quiet dinner, my family goes all out to celebrate the holidays. Instead of eating oven-roasted turkey this year, a relative utilized his smoker to smoke the turkey and add a new spin on a traditional dish. It was delicious and unique. And as I spoke with family around the dinner table, I realized how much we caught up on. Unfortunately, the pandemic has blended our days into a blur, and even though we’ve spoken via text and phone, it doesn’t replace face-to-face encounters. 

I’m thankful that no one in my family became seriously ill from covid-19. 2 years later, everyone is still here and in good health. As power of attorney for my Brother, I had to make choices to ensure that he was as protected from the virus as possible, and I’ve even helped friends schedule a vaccine appointment so they would be covered as well. I’ve also watched heartwarming stories of people coming together to help others when we’ve lost jobs or even homes, and that’s something that continues to inspire me to help others to the best of my abilities in my own life. 

Christmas is looming ahead of us, and we’re gearing up for the gift-giving season. But, unfortunately, 2-Years is such a long time, and I think it’s more important than ever to appreciate what I have. Of course, spending time with my family is the most important thing for me. But, there is always a path forward and to remain hopeful, regardless of what holidays you celebrate or not. I wish you all the best.


Ziggy is a Certified Peer Specialist in PA and currently resides in Pittsburgh. He is a member of the Let’s Act committee, a group of peers devoted to raising awareness about mental health care. In his downtime, he enjoys reading novels and watching nature documentaries.

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