A few weeks ago, on the Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, I found out that my Aunt Ruthie passed away. Aunt Ruthie (wife of Uncle Bob) had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer just a few short weeks after I saw her at the family reunion in August. I remember she made a rather enigmatic comment to me as she was leaving to drive back to their home in St. Augustine, Florida: "Well, I guess this'll be my last family reunion." At the time, she didn't know she had a terminal illness. She'd just been having a lot of back pain (which was probably a result of the undetected cancer) and was finding the long car trip to be uncomfortable. Needless to say, the events of her illness and passing were very upsetting to me, and to others in my family. We all liked Aunt Ruthie a lot, and will miss her terribly.
It was not a typical Thanksgiving for us. But some good things did happen. I was able to travel to St. Augustine to be with my family and help out during this time; I got to know one of my cousins whom I hadn't seen since I was six years old; and I spent more time with my sister that I have in I don't know when. We experienced good weather, and one afternoon, we were able to get out and see some of the historic district of St. Augustine (above) which is beautiful, especially this time of year with all the Christmas lights everywhere. This was an unexpected Thanksgiving, for sure, but it only magnified for me what I already know: that I have a lot to be thankful for.
And I am thankful.