Every November, I look forward to spending Thanksgiving with my family.
It's always a day of warmth and laughter with the people I love.
And of course, there's all that amazing food.
This year, however, the place settings will look a little different.
In July, my family said goodbye to my grandpa.
As we approach Thanksgiving, it's strange to think that this will be the first holiday we spend without him.
Thanksgiving was always a favorite of his. Football, food and time with the grandkids made his ideal holiday, and however banal, each Thanksgiving was always a happy day.
While my family gathered in Grandpa's hospital room this summer, we all joked about our memories with him.
When we thought of past Thanksgivings, we fondly remembered his love of the Thanksgiving meal.
One Thanksgiving in particular, my grandpa got ahead of himself and decided to skip the customary prayer and start eating his turkey.
My grandma scolded him. "Harry, the blessing!"
Grandpa quickly said a prayer and proceeded to dig in. My brother says he thinks that's the shortest prayer Grandpa ever said.
Even though he won't be there around the table with us, I know my grandpa will be there in spirit. After all, he's part of the reason that so many of my memories are full of that warmth and laughter that I recall filling my childhood, not only on Thanksgiving, but also in my day-to-day life.
The upcoming holiday serves merely as a reminder to be thankful for all the little things in life that mean so much to us.
I know this year will be as full of blessings as each year of my life has been, and I'm grateful that the past 21 were shared with my grandpa.
This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for the memories with my grandpa, the time I got to spend with him, and the love he left behind.
Irwin was the fall intern at the Sun-Gazette. She is a senior at Lycoming College and editor of the Lycourier, Lycoming College's student newspaper.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.