By Roseline Souebele

Roseline Souebele

After a year of chaos and fear, sadness and hopelessness, the sun is shining again, and some countries are opening back up. Despite the losses, we still have a lot to be thankful for – our lives, our families, our friends, and our countries.

When I came to Maine, I left the people I love behind. I left my family, my friends. All my loved ones. Life took an unexpected turn, which required executive decisions. At first, I thought that since I was safe, my loved ones must be, too, and I believed we would meet again very soon. But this belief was swept away when one of my best friends back home died. He was in vigorous good health, motivated, full of life, and joyful. But a car accident took his life. I suffered a lot. I was scared that it was just the beginning of many losses, and I wondered how I was going to survive.

Life is full of emotions. Of sad and happy experiences. This life journey can be complicated. We meet new people unexpectedly. We lose people on the way. Sometimes we lose faith and struggle, then find one more breath to keep moving.

Life is like a very fine, stretchy string that can snap any time. The more time we spend worrying, the more we stretch that string, the more likely it is to break at any time.

So we need to cherish the people we have now, and be thankful every single minute, as we do not know when and how we will lose them.

Love and compassion should not have borders. Wherever we are, we can spread love and empathy. And whoever we are, we deserve love and attention.

I am very happy that we are now allowed to resume certain group activities we were accustomed to before the pandemic started. This way we can appreciate life in full.

We have lost loved ones during the past year, but we have also learned new ways to stay safe, and connected. Let’s take advantage of those.

Roseline, former Hope House resident, now lives independently in Portland, works as a Certified Nursing Assistant and as an interpreter at the House of Languages, and is a nursing student at Southern Maine Community College.