A small act of kindness, like a phone call, can make someone’s day during the loneliness of the holiday season
By Robert L. Thomas Jr.
How is it that 2023 is already coming to its end? It’s hard to believe that we’re in the last month of this calendar year. And with this time of year, one thing comes to mind — the overwhelming spirit of the holidays.
For some, this is the supreme time of the year because they get to spend time with family they haven’t seen in a while, and kids get the opportunity to open presents, be on vacation from school and have snowball fights with their neighbors and friends. But for others, this could be a time that’s dreadful and challenging because it can summon sadness, loneliness and depression.
That overarching feeling of sadness can come over you at any time in your life, especially if it’s a reminder of losing someone during the holiday season. For me, I think about my mom. She passed away just a year ago during the middle of October, and I can’t help but be reminded that this is our second family Christmas without her here. I try to remain positive and remind myself of all of the wonderful memories I was lucky to make with her over the holidays, but it still brings that gut-wrenching feeling that she’s no longer here.
This makes me think of our Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) members during the holidays. While many individuals travel to be with their family and friends, others are bed-ridden or stuck at home or the hospital, which limits the number of visitors they can receive.
There could be numerous reasons why people can’t visit their family; the house may not be accessible, they may live in a region where the winter snowfall is too much for long-distance travel, the hospital doesn’t allow visitors or some may not have anyone to visit at all. It’s unfortunate not to have loved ones in your life, but it’s especially lonely for the holidays. No one wants or deserves to be alone this time of year.
Being alone can easily open the door for depression to set in, which often causes people to question their own self-worth. Having a support system that allows you to be around loved ones is imperative. For people who are alone due to loss or bad relationships, negative thoughts of self-worth can make their way into their hearts.
It’s my strong belief that we can change these feelings in someone and make a difference in the person’s life by simply reaching out and giving him or her a call — not just during the holidays, but throughout the year.
We care about our PVA members. We’re here for them every day, and it’s important that we remind them of that. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to have lots of support and love surrounding me during my moments of missing family and friends and feelings of loss during the holidays, but I acknowledge that not all members are so lucky.
I’m asking everyone, if you know anyone who may be alone for the holidays or who has endured the loss of someone recently, please reach out and let the person know you’re thinking of him or her and that you care.
Just a simple conversation can change someone’s day. As writer and poet Kahlil Gibran once said, “Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers.” Happy holidays!