When I was a child, each year on Thanksgiving my grandmother had everyone go around the dinner table and say at least one thing they were thankful for before we were allowed to eat.
With more than 30 grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins waiting around the table, most replies were short and sweet so the food didn’t get cold.
Most would always answer “family” and “good health,” which are both something I am always thankful for. But if you always have those things in your life, they can easily be taken for granted.
From 2012-17, my family experienced death after death and illness after illness. I lost my brother, my mother and two grandparents. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and other family members fell ill as well.
It seemed like our season of grief would never end. In those times, we didn’t feel like there was much to be thankful for.
Our answers going around the dinner table for Thanksgiving took longer to come up with. It was depressing.
However, during this season we were not alone. Friends, extended family members, neighbors and church members reached out to us and provided all the support they could give.
From delivering meals day and night to simple phone calls to check in on us, we were always surrounded by love and support. This unconditional love is not something I was thankful for just at that time.
I will, for the rest of my life, be thankful because I would not be where I am today without their support. They literally reached to the bottom of the pit we were in to pull us out.
Being there for someone while they are going through one of the toughest times in their life is something I try to do often. The holidays are an especially hard time for those who have lost loved ones or are going through a tough time.
Reach out to them.
Give them a call or take them a meal. Don’t ask if they need anything; just do it. And don’t expect anything in return.
I wish I could repay those who let me lean on them, but I know seeing me being able to get to the light at the end of the dark tunnel is rewarding enough for them.
Be the shoulder to lean on when your friends are not able to stand on their own. Show them that it is OK to walk again. In no time, they will be running this marathon called life again.
Features Reporter Jessica Pounds can be reached at
817-645-2441, ext. 2333,