Coronavirus, Anxiety & Thanksgiving

I was driving to my son’s Christmas market yesterday having just received notice from school about a Grade 1 pupil with Covid-19. My nerves were in a twist.

Since last Thanksgiving, about 5million people have died, South Africa is headed for a “fourth wave” and a new variant of the Corona virus (Omicron?) seems to be our next big threat. No wonder, I thought, No bloody wonder scientists have had to coin a new term. “Covid-19 Anxiety Syndrome” says it all. This pandemic has messed with our heads and we will have scars for many years to come.

Before we walked into the market, I spent some time alone to get grounded and centered. When I felt ready, I headed straight to the bar. That’s when I bumped into someone I haven’t seen for about 2 years. The first thing we spoke about was her cancer. “I heard you were ill,” I said, “How are you feeling?”

She generously took me through her journey, right from the lump she found in her breast and later her armpit to the double mastectomy, chemo and long road home. As she walked away with her two young children, something really stayed with me. She was so GRATEFUL! She told me that not only was she grateful to be alive but she was sooooooo touched people! Naturally, her friends and family were there to support her but it was the random meal drop-offs, help with the kids, kind words, flowers and support from people in her neighborhood that touched her big time.

The sense of gratitude helped to shift her focus from poor me to blessed-me! This despite the sadness, fear and trauma she is still working through.

Happy Thanksgiving Photo by Olenka Sergienko on

As the sun set, the sound of happy children, smell of boerie rolls, champagne glasses clanking and the odd glow in the dark toy lit me up inside. I was grateful for my good health, grateful for the wonderful night sky, my amazing mom friends and my tall, handsome boy who I watched laughing in the distance. But, like my old friend, it was the people that gave me the feels. Our community of love.

I wonder if scientists are going to coin a term called Covid-19 Gratitude Syndrome because just everything seems a little more special at this point in the game.


The Power of “Thank You”

I have always marveled at the way mothers perform their miracles. 

To me, these superpowers seem to really come alive at Christmas, Eid, Diwali, Birthdays, Weddings and Barmitzvahs. You know, those milestone moments that go on to the mantelpiece for a lifetime. 

It fascinates me the way these moms press-on despite limited budgets and family dramas, despite the exhaustion and lack of appreciation to create something out of nothing for their loved ones. 

It also fascinates me how “thank you” seems to be the spark that ignites their hearts and gives them enough energy for another 600 rounds of madness. Those two little words seem to be the magical formula. 

I had sat down to write a story about Gratitude for these mothers (and my own miracle worker mom) when another story fell right into my heart. 

He was drunk. No, he was pissed. He said that he was drinking because he was sad but I thought that he was sad because he had been drinking.

The man told me about the loss of his kids to drugs, the loss of his cash to gambling and the fact that the red wine in his hand was his only real friend. 

His wife was home preparing Christmas Eve dinner for 20 people. He told me that she always went “overboard” and that it was a complete “waste of time and money.”

I would have loved to listen to the rest of his story, but I had to dash. My husband sent me a text message telling me that the coast was clear to go and set up themilk and cookies” scene at home.  

As I left, the grumpy man proudly showed me some pictures of his family. I noticed that they were all special occasion pictures of birthdays, Christmases and graduations gone by.

I prayed that one day he would remember how to say “Thank You!”

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and with appropriate and specific direction t

To Listen or NOT to listen

It was nearly Christmas.

Everyone was talking about their holiday plans. Most were going skiing in Europe and then back to South Africa for a beach holiday over New Year.

I could not even thinkkkkkk of taking leave. Firstly, I had only joined the company a month or two earlier and secondly, the most junior person on the team always stayed put. I accepted my fate maturely.

About 3 days before Christmas, and on the last real shopping day, I got the call I had been waiting for. I was free to pack up early and go home. I was elated.

I planned to light a candle for my deceased granny (old tradition), pick up my Christmas pudding from my mom, book my Secret Santa Girls Lunch and finally get all the little gifts for my family. I was excited.

As I was driving out of my office, I got a call. It was from a colleague. She needed my “help”. 

I listened. 

She had a deadline to meet and was not going to make it.

I listened some more.

She explained that she had loads of “important” things to do.

I continued to listen.

She had gifts to buy, cocktails with friends, carols by candlelight and oh yes, a spa day. She simply had “no time” to do her work and she wanted me to do it. It was a 5-day job that required working over Christmas in order to meet a submission deadline.

She sensed my energy dip, so she added something extra. She explained that she had already talked to the CEO of the company and “cleared things” with him.

She ended her pitch by adding that she thought that I “wouldn’t mind” because I had “nothing exciting to do anyway”.

I stopped listening. My ears just stopped playing ball. 

For a moment, the CEO ploy flashed across my mental dashboard as I envisioned beautiful gold stars next to my name and a promotion. Fortunately, that shit didn’t last long. I came to my senses. Quickly too.

I said “I can’t help, I’m afraid” and when she said “And why not?” I said “Ear trouble”. 

I did!  I could have high-fived myself right there, I must say!

I hung up and went to light that damn candle. 

© A Heart Full of Stories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.