It was a rough end to 2017, which was otherwise a very good year.

Just 10 days before Christmas, my mom was hospitalized with acute kidney failure.

She was very sick and I was terrified.

My dad passed away several years ago and I am an only child so during her illness and hospitalization, life was hectic and hard.

I was trying to care for her by driving back and forth to Fort Worth and keep up with my responsibilities at work while trying to make the holidays merry.

As 2018 got underway, mom came home for a week, had a setback and ended up back in care two weeks ago.

The good news is she is home once again and on the mend, thanks to a large group of people I will never be able to properly thank, but I’m going to try. 

To Christi, Lisa, Mailyn, Jana, Sarah, Jennifer and every single one of my in-laws, thank you for your calls, texts, offers to help, flowers and visits to my mom.

Having a close group of friends is one of life’s most cherished gifts.

To my publisher Clarice Touhey and co-worker Autumn Owens who assumed my responsibilities at the office so I could focus on my mom, thank you. You guys are the best. 

To Dr. Kelly Doggett: Your years of friendship, care and support far exceed what physicians are charged with doing. Your quick decision to hospitalize my mother likely saved her life. A word of thanks seems woefully inadequate.

And then there was Senior Care of Stephenville.

Where do I begin?

After mom was released from the hospital in December, she was admitted to Senior Care.

This was our first experience working with a rehab/nursing facility and we were nervous. But from the moment we arrived, our fears were put to rest. 

The care she received from kind, loving professionals during her month-long stay was top notch. 

From delicious meals prepared to her liking to the housekeeping and facility, everything was perfect.

Then there were the people.

I can’t thank my good friends Angie Kilgore and Emily Roberson enough for all they did to make sure her admittance and stay were seamless. It’s a debt I will never be able to repay. 

There was her rehab therapist Sam who helped my mother regain her strength and kept her spirits up with good conversation and humor, her fantastic nurses and a caring team of others too numerous to name. 

What an amazing group of people Senior Care has working for them. I actually got a little teary when I took mom home Wednesday morning. I will miss seeing their smiling faces every day.

This community is fortunate to have such a wonderful facility to care for those we love.

The new year is off to a great start and we are praying for good health and new memories as we move through 2018. 

And paying it forward tops our list of things to do. 

Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Empire-Tribune and Glen Rose Reporter. She can be reached at 254-965-3124 or svandenberge@empiretribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @ETEditor.