Grateful people give thanks for everything in their life. Even on days when it feels like nothing is going right, the art of expressing gratitude is a constant reminder of all the blessings bestowed on them.

I have been so lucky throughout my life to be the recipient of some incredible acts of kindness. Some people defended me when I didn’t have the strength to defend myself, others lifted me out of despair when I was down, and some sat with me in meditative silence. I am very appreciative of their kind gesture and the impact they have had on my life.

My cousin: You saw hope in my eyes and offered a safe haven when I was homeless and destitute. When everyone else was too afraid to support me, you were brave enough to stand up and defy them on my behalf. I’m thankful for you not giving up on me when others faltered.

My father: Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the opportunity you gave me to change my life in our new homeland. I am nothing without you dad. Thank you for giving me the best advice when I moved to Canada with you by saying, “always maintain good credit and do not pierce your nose” At the time, it made no sense to me, but I’m glad I listened.

My friend: When I was 19 years old, I became sick from sticking my finger down my throat to throw up and became bulimic. My father couldn’t afford to take me to the doctor, so you took charge of everything I needed, including my prescription. Thank you for being so selfless and caring. The world needs more people like you.

Ex-husband: Your genuine kindness and being a badass comes to mind when I think of you. I lied to you about being a landed immigrant in Canada for months because I was too afraid to lose you. I came up with so many different crazy stories, including even being a man! Thank you for not throwing me over the 7th-floor balcony that day. Thank you for giving me my life’s greatest accomplishment, becoming a mother.

A work angel: Penny I never got the chance to thank you in person for giving me my first full-time job in Canada. Unfortunately, within hours of hiring me, she decided to resign from her position, but her last act of kindness was hiring an inexperienced black girl. Thank you for taking a chance on me when no one else did. You saw the hunger in my eyes.

Two nurses (Brampton hospital): You both remain nameless and faceless to me today, but my memory of your act of kindness is as vivid now as when I was lying in a hospital bed dying at the age of 24.  I overheard the doctors fighting with one another, saying whoever touches this patient will be responsible for her death. You will have to tell her family why she died.

I knew at that moment I wasn’t going to make it. A nurse from Trinidad came to my bedside and started whispering into my ear. She begged me to live for my family and my baby. She told me to think about being back in Grenada on the beach with the sun on my skin. Thank you for giving me the strength to keep fighting to live.

After giving birth, I was monitored 24 hours a day. In addition, I had a nurse posted to my room where she sat in perfect silence, watching over me for days.  Her presence meant the world to me as I could not speak, eat or have visitors.  I am eternally grateful for her dedication and patience.

You never know how a small act of kindness can change a person’s life. In my case, these acts of compassion saved me. Acts of caring don’t have to be monetary. They can be kind words of encouragement, advice, or a small gesture of reassurance.

Once you have been the recipient of thoughtfulness, it’s essential to be mindful of the act and express gratitude towards that person. Take some time out of your day to thank someone who has shown you generosity and kindness. The true measure of appreciation is the ability to recognize it and say thank you. It’s such a simple way to express gratefulness to those who help you, but it’s a powerful message.