By Debbie Shelley

The Catholic Commentator  

In the same way people pull out their recipe cards to make that pumpkin pie or other favorite family dish for Thanksgiving, Jody Landry has a written list of things to be thankful for.  

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Jody Landry, a member of St. Patrick Church in Baton Rouge, found much to be thankful for in the midst of suffering from COVID-19.  Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator 

 

And they are related to her own battle with COVID-19. Her story shows that even trials and sufferings can point people to things they can be grateful for in their lives.  

On Aug. 7, only a few weeks after Landry had celebrated her 80th birthday, she went to the emergency room at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and admitted to the hospital.  

“It was very lonesome there by myself,” said Landry, who could not receive visitors and was on oxygen the entire time she was in the hospital.  

She said, in fact, “I know that I was close to death because I remember speaking with my Bible study friend who had passed away. It was like she was sitting in class.”  

The friend expressed her concern, according to Landry, and was a soothing presence.  

But Landry is grateful that as she battled the virus, prayers for her increased.  

“One evening I was told if my oxygen level did not go up, I would be sent to ICU. One of my friends, Jennie (her late husband’s caregiver), prayed all night for me, and the next morning my oxygen level was up,” she said. 

Landry noted the illness highlighted how many people are praying for her – 100 that are known.  

“And when I got home my daughter and I prayed a novena of thanksgiving for them,” Landry said.  

Times of crisis can also bring about gratitude for family, which was certainly the case for Landry, who is thankful for her biological and stepchildren, grandchildren, great grandchildren, 25 living first cousins and nine deceased first cousins. She enjoyed watching a video of her six-year-old great granddaughter praying for her.  

Landry was also grateful for the care she received, saying, “The doctors and nurses were my family for those weeks.”  

“I am so thankful for them,” she said. “It is hard to believe that these people put their lives and the lives of their family at risk every day. I wrote a letter to the hospital naming and commending them.”  

The priests and religious who were part of her life also came to mind for Landry, such as the School Sisters of Notre Dame whom she met as a student at St. Mary of the Pines School in Chatawa, as well as the associates of those sisters and her Bible study friends.  

Landry is also grateful for her family at St. Patrick Church in Baton Rouge, who were constantly checking on her and sending her cards and messages of encouragement.  

Even during struggles with loneliness and the coronavirus, Landry realized that her health has always been generally good and found “a mission” to pray for others who are not in good health.  

“When I would feel sorry for myself, I only had to look outside of my hospital window to see the sign for Mary Bird Perkins (Cancer Center),” said Landry. “I was thankful for only having COVID and would pray for all the cancer patients.”  

Landry advises people to follow all the health safety guidelines to avoid catching the virus. For those who have the virus, or for those who have a loved one with the virus, she encourages them to keep praying and to make their own list of things they have to be grateful for.  

And as Thanksgiving rolls into the Advent season, they can quietly reflect on those blessings and use them to bless others.  

Landry, who will gather with family for Thanksgiving said, “I thank God for restoring my health. I know he must have more in store for me since he saved me. One thing I will do is to be a good example for all the grandchildren and great grandchildren.”