Within three days last week, we learned about two families with local ties who lost loved ones through death. A 6-year-old girl lost her mother in a bus crash in Chile, and a young couple in Powell lost their 4-year-old daughter when she didn't wake up on Thanksgiving morning.
Those are sobering reminders that the holidays aren't merry for everyone.
Some grieve the loss of loved ones; others worry and pray daily for the safety of sons or daughters, husbands or wives, fathers or mothers serving overseas in the military.
Some, in lean financial circumstances, worry constantly about how they will make ends meet and still find a way to provide Christmas for their families; others sit alone in their homes or in nursing homes, wishing there was someone special who could brighten days that blend together in monotony.
For people enduring any of those circumstances, life during the holidays can be an extreme test of emotional strength and fortitude. Instead of feeling the proverbial holiday joy, it's often all they can do to put one foot in front of the other from the time they get out of bed in the morning until they go back to bed at night.
So, as we begin this holiday season, let us remember those in our community and elsewhere who are in need. We can make a difference with a loving word, a kind deed, a helping hand, a word of encouragement — or just willing to listen.
For those who need an idea of how to help, a good place to start is by donating time or money to the Christmas Basket program and the Powell Council for Community Services. For more information, contact Dave Blevins at 754-9541 or Sally Montoya at 202-1663.
Another way to help is to donate money or items to Powell Troop Support, which sends monthly care packages to active-duty military members. For more information, contact Bonny Rouse at 272-4272 or Anne Ruward at 202-0035.
People who volunteer with those programs have the helping thing all figured out.
Another option is simply stop by the Powell Valley Care Center or the Powell Senior Center and find out what you can do to help brighten someone's day. You just might find it's something you want to continue doing throughout the year.
Through efforts large or small, we can make a difference in someone else's life, and in doing so, improve our own outlooks as well.