My friend of 24 years recently lost her father-in-law after a courageous battle with cancer. Prior to his death, she found herself deep into a situation that required her to juggle work, family and her ailing loved one. Our conversations over the past few months have mostly been about how she is doing emotionally and her father-in-law in general. Some nights she got by on three or four hours of sleep and somehow she kept it all together. During one of our conversations she told me that she was writing thank you cards to the medical staff at the hospital where her father-in-law had been admitted. As she told me this, it dawned on me how powerful a simple “thank you” can be.

There are two ways to say “thank you.”

We say “thank you” at the dinner table when someone passes us the salt and pepper, but there is a more genuine “thank you” that requires a little thought and a little bit of our time. These are the ones that truly count to others. These are the ones that make people want to try a little harder and that gives a little boost to those who feel like they aren’t making a difference. These are the ones that we often forget to give, but that can make the most impact.

There is a reason why my friend and I are still close after 24 years.

The example she is setting for all of us right now reflects her loyalty and compassion for relationships and people. While the medical staff has provided a tremendous service to her loved one, my friend has too. I know her life well. I know there have been times when others should have said “thank you” to her and didn’t. I have been one of those people. So, to my sweet, faithful friend…thank you. Thank you for being the same loyal person through good and bad times. Thank you for being a shining example of who we should all be even when faced with very difficult situations in life. Thank you for loving someone as if he were your own father. Thank you for sharing your journey with me. Thank you for always remembering others and for understanding the power and impact of two simple words.