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“Thanksgiving” by Delyn Merce

November 27, 2016
Thanksgiving Dinner, Author Alcinoe (PD)

Thanksgiving Dinner, Author Alcinoe (PD)

A fellow blogger shared this experience with me.  It will bring tears to your eyes.

“I live in a low-income property with neighbors of varied disability.  Years ago (now 8 or 10), I was in great distress for the man who lived below me – Tim had fairly well-managed schizophrenia, and kept to himself (shopping alone, going to weekly appointments alone).

However one day the local deputies came and took him away in cuffs (he’d missed a summons to appear) – I foolishly tried to explain that Tim was ill and they lied to me, saying he’d be taken where he could receive treatment.

Tim was probably gone a month, and it was nearing Thanksgiving.  I recall standing out in the courtyard and saying, ‘Somebody needs to do something to help’ – as other neighbors just stared mutely at me.  And then it was as though God spoke to me, ‘You are Somebody’.  It was a turning point.

When Tim returned, I invited him to have Thanksgiving dinner upstairs with me.  I knew little about him, though it was apparent that no one visited him.  That dinner was a stretch for me, very emotional.

Tim was a very large man, ‘hygienically challenged’ with poor table manners, and didn’t speak much, though he was willing to answer my questions.  His parents were dead, and he said he had a sister who phoned from time to time – that she had likely usurped his portion of their inheritance (she lived in a pricey area).

Then Tim said that his recent absence was related to a misunderstanding about a minor criminal issue – and that he’d been held in the county jail, where his eyeglasses had been withheld from him.

By this point, I couldn’t eat my meal and was trying not to burst into tears.  He seemed very credible in the details he gave – not attempting to hide the criminal issue, when he could have omitted it.

During this time, as I would occasionally hear Tim screaming downstairs at the voices that were tormenting him, I would call him on the phone and gently ask if he was alright – did he need anything? That seemed to “break the circuit”, and he would be calm for the rest of the evening.

Despite the emotional effort it required, I continued to invite him up for the major holiday meals – and as his birthday was in early December, I included a gift (calendars on astronomy, his particular interest) with the Thanksgiving dinners.  He always thanked me politely, and never lingered after the meals.

At some later date, I didn’t think I could host the dinners anymore, but continued gladly to bring him a plate of food and baked goods, which he accepted.

Then a couple years ago I told him I’d be baking fruitcakes for Christmas, and asked if he’d like one.  He said yes.  At Thanksgiving I brought him dinner, and a Christmas and birthday card – and stated that I’d bring the fruitcake down closer to Christmas.

The Monday before Christmas I called Tim several times but he didn’t answer his phone.  I wasn’t immediately alarmed, as I knew he took a lot of medication and slept more hours than he was awake.   After still not hearing from him, I took the gift bag of fruitcake down and knocked on his door – no answer, so I left it on his doorknob.  Periodically I would try calling again, with no response.

Several days passed and then I realized there was activity.  Two women, who turned out to be his social workers, were in the parking lot…and then there were police cars.  Finally, another neighbor phoned me to say that Tim had died, and I watched as his body was removed.

I have not felt such grief for anyone, not even family members – and I still get teary, writing this.  I never expected Tim not to be there – I thought I’d be sharing food with him till I was gone.  I miss him terribly, and my heart aches for how alone he was, fighting demons in his head.

Oh, and he was a Christian, used to take the bus by himself to a local church.  So that is a comfort to me. But his sister never even showed up to collect his paltry belongings, which included the last cards I’d given him.”

Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6: 36).

Delyn Merce is a poet.  She blogs at Stutter-Stepping Heart


  1. Yes this bring tears to the eyes. Thank you and thank you to your friend for sharing. It sounds like the two were a blessing to each other and how beautiful to have the chance to enjoy each other’s company. My condolences and may God give Tim eternal rest. 🌹

  2. I unfortunately have known the Tim´s of the world, I was one of them really. So now I´m very grateful for what I have, and that is family. I may not have much money, but… a roof over my head(my own roof I should add not living in a shelter), food on the table, and I had a computer which doing odd jobs here and there I think I´ll be able to buy one in the near future. Right now I jump from place to place to find computers to use.
    Very touching story.

  3. Thanks so much, Anna, for sharing this story with your readers–I got tearful again, reading it, as I truly miss Tim. But I’m keeping my heart alert for others God may wish to bless, touch with healing, through my hands and prayers–and this, while I fight my own mental/emotional battles. I have been praying especially about a very disruptive situation here where I live–praying God would miraculously get me OUT, or do a miracle for this couple who are in great bondage and have taxed my peace to an intolerable and untenable degree. Yesterday, after a great weekend message (Gateway Church, Southlake, TX), God provided opportunity for me to pray for the young man of this couple, at the mailbox–where I believe he was waiting for his drug connection to deliver him temporary respite.

    Over and over the same message comes to me, as that one long ago now, for Tim–that if we truly have a heart for God, we must show it to the people He loves, saved or not; that we must “step out of our comfort zone” and be His words, His touch. So today, I have hope that maybe the door has opened a tiny crack in this man’s heart…and I ask your prayers too, Anna, thanking you in advance for your Huge Heart which ministers God’s Grace and Love to many–including those here on the blogs. May He continue to show you His favor in all that you do. Much love to you, this Thanksgiving weekend–Delyn ❤

    • God bless you for your loving heart, Delyn. You are an example to others and a lifeline to those you help, in whatever capacity. I will continue to pray about your situation. ❤

      • Thank you so much, Anna–for your words and prayers that encourage me. The faith-life is never boring, is it?! I’m forever stunned at how God can reach into my darkness and light a fire which pushes me forward with Him…and hopefully into the destiny of serving Him with greater results 🙂 I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving–lots of good food, and love at your table ❤

      • Yes, I am one of the fortunate ones. I hope you enjoyed yours, as well. ❤

  4. tabitha59reachingout permalink

    You’re right, Anna. This did bring tears to my eyes. Thanks for the reminder that we are “somebody” and what we do for others does indeed matter. God bless you. 🙂

  5. Such an incredible sad story. It really makes you cry.

  6. Victorine Sara permalink

    Tear to my eye

  7. Truly sad story, Anna 😦 Thankful to know that at least in
    this instance, there was one someone who was willing to
    show love to another someone! 🙂 💜 Jackie@KWH

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