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     Every Thanksgiving is a special time to be thankful for what you have. It is a time to look back at all of the great things that have happened. To be thankful for the people you know, the blessings you have received, and all of the good times you have had. Every Thanksgiving is definitely a wonderful time to be with the ones you love. Not all Thanksgivings can be that great, though. Some times, things go a little differently than planned.

     This one Thanksgiving wasn’t the best for my family. You see, my grandpa past away the preceding September. He had a bad back problem that rendered him quite unable to walk, get into bed, or go to the bathroom by himself. My brother and I, living just down the street, helped him out a lot. We would help him move when he needed to, but we mostly just sat and watched TV with him, and were just there for him.

     After he fell one night he was taken to the hospital and it was found that he had a very bad bone marrow cancer. There was nothing else that could be done, but wait. The whole family waited together. At any given point in time there was some one there in that hospital room watching the Cardinals play baseball, or talking with other family members. Any visit was worth it, even if it was just to say hello to the family.

     The visits were not always sad either. Many times, his children sang some of his favorite songs for him, knowing that although he couldn’t show it, he was more than happy to hear their voices. The whole family banned together, everyone, coming from out of town or from down the street. All of his children were there with him, talking, and remembering. They remembered a time when he was as alive as a spring day, playing catch in the back yard, or helping some one with their homework. They told stories about him that no one could remember until then. Stories of his heroics, stories of his lessons that he taught each of them, and stories of the wonderful days they all had together.

     They would laugh, and they would cry, and they would sing, and they would pray, and they would do it all right by his side. Everyone was watching and waiting for him to spring into action once more, and finish some one else’s story with a funny little quirk, or some saying to be remembered. But he just laid there, almost lifeless, as if he was not himself but a rubber suit designed to look like him, but not respond.

     One night, God spoke, and my grandpa’s spirit was called to a place he was more than worthy to be in. Now he is with the angels in their eternal paradise, and he is watching and waiting to see his loved ones once again, so they can all sing together, and be together, and continue the love they had on this desolate planet.

     Yet back on earth, preparations were being made for the funeral, and even more of his precious family that loved him so much, came from all over to see him. Many other people, too, came to see him and give their condolences. Many, many people came, for the lives that he touched were far greater than anyone had ever imagined. Old neighbors came, friends from the war came, people he knew from church fundraisers came, even people who were once kids on his little league teams came and told of the impact he had on their lives. The line of people waiting to see him and talk to the family was like a cargo train slowly moving in front of you; it didn’t seem to end.

     And yet, the line did end, and the funeral was over, and people went back home to continue with their lives. Though things were hard at first, everyone got back into the routine of things and eventually continued with their day to day schedules like before. For a short time things returned back to an uneven normal, but it didn’t stay long.

     Thanksgiving came and the family returned to be together. It was decided to have Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house this year, and instead of her cooking, my mother and my aunts prepared the food. When you walked in you could smell the turkey basting in the oven, and the green beans with a little hint of bacon in them. Along side the turkey was a small chicken for those who were not turkey fans. The pies lined the center of the dinner table, with many other deserts beside them. Everyone was sitting around, talking about their latest battle at work, or playing games like checkers to find who was the better skilled. Everyone, just waiting for grandma to say, “hey guys, it’s time to eat.”

     From the moment you walked in you couldn’t tell anything bad had happened about two months ago. Not even I was thinking about grandpa having past away last September. I did, though, remember to say hi to him, but as I walked to the doorway of the office, I remembered he would not be there to greet me. No more would I be “required” to say hello to grandpa. No longer would I be able to see him, or here another funny joke that actually required you to think about it. No more would he be there, so I could be there with him; just to be with him.

     As I was talking to my dad at the dinner table, a silence crept into the room as everyone was remembering all there was to be thankful for; and all that had been lost. The silence was followed by soft whispering cries that seemed to alert you that something was wrong and then pull you in with them. And then the silence was broken when my uncle told one of my grandpa’s jokes, or at least it sounded like something he would say. And every body in the room began to think about some thing else, but never really forgetting about their father; grandpa; husband.

     Thanksgiving has a new meaning to me now. Before, I would be thankful for my nice house or my cool computer, but now I’m beginning to see what Thanksgiving is all about. You should be thankful for the people in your life, and maybe pay more attention to them. You should constantly try to be good to them, and let them know that you love them and are there for them, no matter what they need. Most importantly, let them know as soon as possible, because as soon as possible may be too late.



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