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Pass It On: A New Tradition

Thanksgiving wasn’t the same without so many beloved relatives who had passed on, but they found a way to celebrate their lives with gratitude.

A cooked turkey on a Thanksgiving Day table
Credit: Getty Images/moodboard RF

Thanksgiving was coming but my three sisters and I didn’t exactly have attitudes of gratitude. We’d lost our mom in August and dad in September, and our beloved great-aunt and great-uncle just a few years before. How would we hold tight to family traditions without them?

At a women’s retreat I attend, we each lit a candle for someone who inspired us and said a few words about them. What if we did that at our Thanksgiving? My sisters loved the idea.

Before dinner, we lit four candles and went around the table, sharing memories about Mom and Dad and our great-aunt and uncle. How we never heard our great-aunt’s name without our great-uncle’s because they did everything together. How Dad’s droll humor would make us laugh when we least expected it.

My daughter, nieces and nephews recalled the times Memaw—their name for our mother—went all out throwing big holiday parties.

We’ve celebrated Thanksgiving like this for five years now. Once we’ve told our best family stories, we say grace—my great-aunt’s favorite tradition. We’ll always miss the loved ones we’ve lost, but our family traditions—old and new—keep them close to our hearts.

Download your FREE ebook, Rediscover the Power of Positive Thinking, with Norman Vincent Peale.

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