By Caitlin McHugh
Online Content Editor
Tis’ the season for giving thanks, eating a disgusting amount of food, and giving the expected but typically dreaded life updates to distant relatives. For as long as I can remember Thanksgiving has been nothing more than an excuse to see family members and a justified reason to eat as much as we can without even thinking twice or having to feel bad about it. When I was growing up I never really thought much about the whole giving thanks aspect of the holiday, but solely focused on the events and social occasions that came from celebrating Thanksgiving.
It was Thanksgiving of 2010 that everything changed for me when my parents sat my sister and I down and told us the news that my father had been diagnosed with cancer. My whole life changed that day, and it changed the entire meaning of Thanksgiving for me. Six years later I now have a new appreciation and value for the time spent with family members during the holiday season. As my father passed away 9 months following this diagnosis, the holiday season has been much different without him. Remembering him on days and occasions like this is always bittersweet to me, because although it is still very painful, it has taught me the importance of being thankful. His absence has led me to develop a newfound definition of thankfulness for my loved ones that are still here to share these moments with. I can’t put into words how thankful I am to still have my mom and sister here, and how important it has become for me to spend time with them; especially at this time of year.
I am someone that typically takes time out of my day every single day of the year to reflect on all of the beautiful things in life that I am thankful for because I believe it is important during the midst of our busy lives to recognize all of our blessings. On Thanksgiving, however, although I am thankful for an endless amount of things, it is the memories that I cherish and the moments spent with my loved ones that I am particularly thankful for this holiday season, and every single day for that matter. Thanksgiving to me is a time to be even more thankful for all of the wonderful things and people I am blessed to have in my life.