This is hard, but I am thankful.

I took this week off from work. In case you’re new here–it’s been a terribly difficult year. We rang in the new year by losing my father in January. Then I launched a company and left my day job. Keep yourself busy everyone said. I did. And I was tired.

Breaking my own rules, I took a work meeting for Tuesday. I figured I’d call my mom while I was getting ready. We hadn’t spoken in a few weeks and I wanted to finalize Thanksgiving plans. The voice on the other end of the line wasn’t my mother’s. What’s wrong?

We’re not exactly sure. We have the EMTs here with your mom right now. They’re taking her to Rex.

I cancelled my meeting and jumped in the car. A three hour drive stood between us, and I wasn’t wasting a minute. It wasn’t until I was halfway into the drive that I realized I was still in my pajamas. Whoops.

As I drove, I thought about the year. Losing a parent shifts your universe. It has the ability to suck you down and drown you in darkness. But my world wasn’t dark. My year, though difficult, was full of light and cheer and love. We found strength in numbers. My family, once seven, was still whole. It was still strong. We bend, we shift, we adjust. We love and we lose and we survive.

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Thanksgiving 2015

The drive felt like it took forever, but I finally made it to Raleigh.

Relief flooded the room when the cheerful doctor cruised into the room announcing a kidney stone. We won’t spend another holiday with a sick parent.

This year, our traditions change, and that’s okay. The day will still be filled with laughter and love, with a few important voices missing from the chaos. But we survive together. The light always wins.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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