The heartfelt Thanksgiving story that’s a favorite amongst many is a bit different this year.
It seems like it was just yesterday that we were reading social media postings about “Grandma Wanda” and Jamal finding each other by happenstance. It was in 2016 when Wanda Dench thought she was texting her grandson but texted then-teenager Jamal Hinton to invite him over for Thanksgiving dinner.
Jamal was welcomed into the family with open arms and has celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with Dench ever since. However, this year, the pandemics changed everything.
In March, Dench lost her husband, Lonnie Dench, to COVID-19.
“She knew her first Thanksgiving without him would be hard, but Jamal and Mikaela (his girlfriend) would make sure she wouldn’t be lonely this holiday,” AZ Family wrote.
On Friday, a “safe, mini Thanksgiving” was held in Lonnie’s honor.
“I didn’t want to miss Thanksgiving with Jamal,” Dench said. “This year is definitely different than all the years in the past.”
According to AZ Family, at the head of the table, a seat and candle were left. “Even though Lonnie isn’t here, his spirit is. Jamal knew he would hear this,” they wrote.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing everybody here together safely,” Dench said as she began to say grace. “Thank you for all the blessings, and thank you so much for having Lonnie in my life. I miss him, but I know he’s in a good place. So to everybody here, I love you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Amen,” she finished.