Fowzia Karimi moved from Oakland, California to Denton, Texas in 2014, deep in grief following the death of her mother. In Texas she found an unexpected, pervasive warmth and kindness among the community, one that not only helped her to navigate the “vast foggy wilderness” of grief, but also to face her own cancer diagnosis and treatment.

I have just come out of the other side of a long and excruciating year of treatment, cancer-free but still suffering from the treatment’s brutal assault on my body. Grateful is not a word that comes to mind often during cancer treatment, but I regularly felt grateful my journey took place here, in Texas. That at every turn I was surrounded by, and my pain cushioned by, tenderness and warmth, optimism and generosity.