Nov 172010
Authors: Sarah Millard

This past week proved itself to be among the hardest of my life.

When your mother, who lives three hours away, calls you on a Wednesday afternoon and, voice cracking, asks you to please come home, there’s a good chance that something is wrong.

I’ve made the drive from Fort Collins to Pueblo many times, and every time the trip seems to shorten, if only by a miniscule amount. On Wednesday, I felt every mile as though they had thrown themselves, one by one, on my shoulders.

With every passing suburb, tears began to well in my eyes, building up and finally rushing down bright red cheeks.

I gradually grew more and more nervous until I had finally reached my destination.

Arriving at a hospital, I was confronted with a terror that has plagued me for my entire life.

My grandmother passed away on Nov. 11, 2010 –– the day before her 84th birthday.

While this is not usually something I would choose to write a column about, the close proximity to Thanksgiving convinced me to do so, if not only for the memory of my grandmother, but for those of us who are embarking on a trip this next week.

More than likely, we look forward to Thanksgiving for a much-needed break and a plethora of food items that only seem to go together for one occasion. Whether we head home to spend a week with family or stay in Fort Collins and have a Thanksgiving with friends and neighbors, we all elect to spend this holiday with the people we love.

The smell of Thanksgiving dinner is one that can never be replicated. We have all experienced the feeling of walking in from the blistering cold to a balmy kitchen, the smell of stuffing clinging to the walls. We can remember seeing our grandfather, father, uncle, cousin or brother wielding a knife the size of our forearm to cut a picturesque turkey.

The night, filled with cranberries, yams and mashed potatoes ends in the living room, with the television blaring a football game and various loved ones clutching their stomachs, but still managing to finish the last piece of pie.

But rarely, at least in my family, do we take the time to go around the table and share what we have been thankful for this holiday season.

Our lives are too busy and too hectic with the stress of jobs, car payments, school, insurance and other necessities to really take time to indulge in the little time we have with our families.

I know when I go home, I eat dinner with my parents and rush off into the night to create new adventures with old friends I’ve left behind. Saturday would be spent sleeping until noon and running errands. I would have lunch on Sunday afternoon with my grandparents and drive back to my Fort Collins home, where I continued my new life.

Thanksgiving provides us with an opportunity to spend a single day giving thanks for every blessing we have in this world.

While this sounds cliche, and very much is, we truly do need to spend every moment as if it’s our last. We need to treat everyone as though this will be the last day we spend with them. Eventually it will be, and the feelings of guilt you will be filled with are insurmountable.

So for this Thanksgiving, enjoy your food. Enjoy the break and enjoy the fact that when you return, there are two weeks of classes left.

But also, enjoy the time you spend with the people you love, whether it be family or friends. Cherish these moments and recount the memories. Live life as though it is your last day, and treat everyone as though it is the last time you’ll see them. Give thanks because you love and are loved.

But more than anything, have a happy Thanksgiving.

Sarah Millard is senior political science major. Her column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be reached letters@collegian.

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