The End of the Month

Today we are in Minnesota, where we will bury my mom. It has been a long month, full of tears. I think we are all relieved that this month has finally come to an end. It’s hard to believe that we will not have Mom with us this Christmas.

We are going to gather together as a family to celebrate Christmas. Dad has already said he’s not going to fall apart; he’s going to put up a tree, decorate the house with lights, and celebrate like Mom was here.

It will be Ed’s first Christmas without his mother, too. She passed away last February.

Both our moms would want us to find joy this Christmas. As we gather together again as a family, I think we will.


Thanksgiving used to be a huge gathering of family members on my dad’s side. Our Thanksgiving Day, however, was never on Thanksgiving Day. We would meet for Thanksgiving on Friday instead. My dad and three of my uncles were pastors, and so they would have church services at their respective churches, and then we would spend the rest of the day traveling to whichever aunt and uncle were hosting that year.

We loved spending time with all our cousins. Here is a memory from my sister about one Thanksgiving: “…some of the older cousins were in the basement playing Planet of the Apes, and they kept turning the lights off, which I didn’t like – too scary! – so I must have been pretty young.”

This Thanksgiving, as you can imagine, wasn’t the happiest for our family. The visitation for my mom was Friday, the same day we used to meet for a huge turkey dinner. Several of my cousins came to Iowa from far away, and I was so happy to see them. We gathered together to thank God for my mom, their aunt. And I know that those cousins who couldn’t make it were wishing they could come. I’m so grateful for my aunt, my uncles and my cousins, from both sides of my family. I’ll tell you more about them another day.