It seems to me that November starts a season of gratitude and reflection – the beginning of the end of a year.

This has been a challenging year, marked with significant loss and stress. So, when I sat to think about being grateful, I was ready for it to be very difficult. But it wasn’t.

I am grateful there are brave men and women willing to put their lives at risk in order to protect mine – that they are willing to shoot a gun, fly a plane, fight a fire or stop a drunken driver.

I am often sorry we need them in our world, but grateful they are there for us.

I am grateful for teachers, nurses, social workers, ministers, librarians and counselors. I have worked in some of those roles. I know how diligently I worked and how deeply I cared for my students and clients. I was not unique.

These professionals carry the responsibility of helping to keep us and our families healthy – intellectually, mentally, physically and spiritually. They help keep us together and, at times, help put us back together.

I am grateful for volunteers, leaders and staff of nonprofits and the people who support them. They see a need, create a vision and implement a plan to accomplish a goal.

They provide unique services a community needs but has no other way to provide to its people.

They are often the voice for the disenfranchised and those who cannot speak up for themselves.

I am grateful for the stories and life lessons our clients, most of them seniors, have shared with me.

One of our first client’s advice, to share adventures with loved ones while able, has guided my husband and me to memorable travels and activities in new places.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson, one of love and devotion, has been from a client’s husband. When he comes into the house, he beams at his wife – who does not always recognize him – and says, “Hey, Beautiful. It makes my day to see you smile!”

I am grateful for my family and those I consider as close as family. They are the ones I rely on to bolster and encourage me on and to pick me up when I am down.

There is so much more I could name. I am sure you could, too. Join me. Let’s each make a list, and if we thank, support and appreciate just one person on each list, we will make a lot of people happy and we will feel better.

No matter what we have experienced this year, we can be grateful.

Want to share your gratitude with others? Go to www.facebook.com/ gratefullowcountry.

Debbie Morris, MA, EDs, is CEO of Home Helpers Home Care and Home Health. help@homehelperslowcountry.com; www.inhomecarelowcountry.com