For the past five years my family and I pack up our car and head up to northern Minnesota, to spend Thanksgiving with my Aunt Ann and her family.
We first started this tradition after my Uncle Jim passed away. My mother wanted to spend time with her sister and family. We knew it would probably be a difficult time that first holiday season without her husband. Her two boys and their families would certainly be feeling the loss too. We ended up leaving the night before Thanksgiving and spent the night in Minneapolis. On Thanksgiving morning we finished our journey, arriving four hours later at their home in Walker, Minnesota. They had already begun preparing our Thanksgiving dinner, and we all pitched in to finish the meal. After a few hours more of cooking and snacking, Thanksgiving dinner was ready to be served. My late Uncle Jim’s older sister and her husband joined us for dinner as they always did when Jim was around. And of course, they are our family too. We sat down and said a little prayer. It was about how even though Jim wasn’t physically with us anymore but he would always be with us in spirit. It was wonderful to spend time with family and extended family that first Thanksgiving without our Uncle Jim. Enough so that we decided to make it an annual tradition.
2017 marks the second trip since my diagnosis. I have come to realize that we have been going to support my Aunt Ann and her family, but that they have always been there for us too.