On Thursday of last week I was planning my vacation and trip to Las Cruces to see my sister for the holidays. I was planning out the stops that my mother, father and I would enjoy.
However that all changed Friday morning when I got a call that no one ever really wants to get or expects. My cousin's voice trembled on the other end of the phone as he told me I had just lost my Uncle Phillip.
My thoughts went from planning a trip to what do I need to do and getting to Clovis to be with my family. I had to call my mom who was in Amarillo with my dad at a doctor's appointment. That too was an unpleasant call, and two more -- one to my sister and best friend Jim -- made that morning all that much harder.
I spent Saturday and Sunday with the family sharing tales and memories of my uncle who meant a great deal to me. He was a strong man that always reminded me to do what was right and take care of my family first. My aunt requested that I be a pallbearer and I accepted that duty immediately.
We laid him to rest Monday morning, which was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. We later gathered to share more stories, memories and a meal in his honor that afternoon.
As I looked around the hall I began to think about how hard it was to be thankful for something this Thanksgiving. That was until I realized what I had to be thankful for was staring me right in the face.
So many members of my family that I had the opportunity to tell just how much they mean to me. I will never have that chance to tell my uncle how much of an influence he had in my life. I always meant to tell him, when I saw him he would always greet me with a smile, hug and ask how my mom and dad were doing. So many times I stood before him or sat beside him but it seems that some other task or event took me away and I never told him.
So I wasted no time and spent the next couple of hours with my family. We laughed, cried and caught up with each other. I always talk about how sad it is, that the family only comes together like this for a funeral. We spend so much time away from each other that we often forget to write, call and these days e-mail a short reminder that we are thinking about them and miss them.
So this Thanksgiving I will be thankful for more than a meal served on a plate or dish or even the Green Bay Packers winning a football game. I am most thankful for the chance to tell my family just how much they mean to me.
Thomas Garcia writes for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at: