Happy Thanksgiving!

I love this holiday. It’s so nice to step back from the daily hassle and think about the truly important things. The holiday season, really, is wonderful for this reason. It can be easy to get wrapped up in all the gift-buying and stress of planning events, but it’s so important not to — to remember to be thankful for the wonderful blessings we all have been given and enjoy them.

This year, our family’s thanksgiving is even more special. My grandma passed away yesterday. She was 88 and went in her sleep, peacefully. She had been suffering from Alzheimers and lived in a memory care facility on her own. We knew her days were winding down as she contracted her 4th bladder infection this year. The ones she’d been getting were extremely painful and strong — she needed intense antibiotics to treat them. My mom’s sisters and brothers (all 11 of them!) decided that this time they weren’t going to treat the infection with antibiotics. They were going to make my grandma as comfortable as possible and let God take her home when she was ready to leave us.

The amazing thing, out of all of this, is that my mom and I were able to see her exactly 24 hours before she passed away. Right when my bus pulled in to Minneapolis, we got on the road to St. Cloud to visit her and say our goodbyes. She was sleeping the entire time and seemed very much at peace. It was shocking, though, to see her like that. It’s not how I remembered my grandma, at all. The more I sat there with here, though, the more at-peace I became with the fact that she’d be leaving soon. She lived a long, amazing life, working as a nurse during WWII, giving birth to and raising TWELVE kids, caring for and loving 23 grandkids, gardening, pickling, sewing, crocheting, quilting — she was always working on something. It was easy to get lost in her sewing room.

I just wish I was able to know more of the amazing woman she was. She was almost 70 years old when I was born and had lived such a rich life before I even knew her. I’ll always remember her warm hugs that smelled like roses.

Still, all of this really makes me thankful for my grandma. For how loving and supportive she was of my mom and all her other children. I’m SO thankful for the last day God gave her that let me see her one last time. So thankful for my family that knew how to handle her passing gracefully, to support one another and grieve with each other. So thankful for LIFE and the wonderful opportunities it provides. Every second is a miracle and I appreciate that fact even more this year.

Have an absolutely wonderful thanksgiving, everyone. Spend time with your loved ones, think about everything you take for granted and simply be humble, be thankful, and enjoy the day.

Eat lots and lots of delicious food, too, of course!

Enjoy this amazing rendition of the song Wayfaring Stranger by Ed Sheeran. It’s amazing and beautiful. This kid is so talented!