Growing up, we traveled deep into the hills of the Ozarks in Arkansas for Thanksgiving dinner with my grandparents. We used to sing, “Through the river and over the hills to Grandma’s house we go,” since we actually drove through a creek and traversed over mountains to get to our Thanksgiving feast.
This year, my parents, brother, and his wife made the journey without me. They didn’t make the entire journey, either. It was stopped short — no going through creeks or into the mountains for them. Instead, they went to the hospital where my grandma is staying. She is not doing well.
With a phone call from my brother on Thanksgiving day, I was flooded with how different this visit is than all the previous ones. Then I was reminded of Thanksgiving 2006, as Grandma oversaw the preparations of the meal from her wheelchair, where she was confined after a stroke.
It is these images — remembering a strong, vibrant woman prepare a massive feast single handed, to becoming a mere overseer of the preparations, to being fed through a feeding tube on Thanksgiving Day — that are haunting me this season. I know it is part of growing up and the circle of life and all of that; however, it doesn’t make it any less sad as we are living it.
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