Wednesday, November 23, 2011

♥ Gma T

Thanksgiving... a time for family, counting your blessings and happiness... for the most part anways. Thanksgiving is always such a tricky holiday for me. My life is overflowing with blessings beyond all comprehension and I look forward to spending the holiday season with the ones I love. However, 5 years ago today, I said goodbye to my Great-Grandma Toni. She was, and still is, the only close family member I've ever lost. She was approaching her 96th birthday when one day things took a turn for the worse. I'll never forget coming home from Clay's house in the wee hours of the morning to find my parents awake. It only took a second before the realization hit me; I knew she was gone.

It was hard trying to get in a few hours of sleep before needing to get ready for the Thanksgiving festivities that afternoon. Having the family all come together at Grandma's that day was such a blessing, yet so very difficult. How do you celebrate your blessings and the fullness of your life when you're missing a family member? Up until that point, our extended family was constant. Sure, a few boyfriends here and there, but always Grandma and Grandpa Neiser, the Zylstras, the Polanics, both Neiser households... and Grandma Toni. Up until that day, that's how it always was... every holiday, every birthday, every family picnic out by the pool.

Even though that day was nearly impossible to get through, I will always remember one incredible moment my family shared. We circled around the table as always for grace... before us "kids" are banished to the family room away from the adult table. This time, our prayer was spoken through choked back sobs with our hands all locked together. It was such an indescribable moment for me. Even from coming from a very close-knit family, the overwhelming feeling of love and togetherness and support was just incredible. I think about that moment a lot... especially around the holidays. Just another reminder that Gma T is always here.

1989 Grandma Toni with the six Neiser great-grandchildren: (L to R)
Maria Renico, Miranda Schelhas, Andrea Archambault,
Ashley Zylstra, Laura Neiser and Dan Polanic

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