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May 30th 2013, another leaf has fallen from that mighty oak we call our family tree. My aunt Barbara had lost here battle with cancer. She was a fighter and how could she not be. Having taught special education for thirty three years in one of Long Island’s roughest school districts where even the Police would buy the yearbook in order to have photos of the students.

I’ve always been a positive thinker especially when myself or someone I love faces adversity. In my mind I knew she would beat this horrible disease even when the doctors said she wouldn’t. I have always thought of my aunt as a second mom in some respects, I guess that is why her passing has been especially difficult for me.

As most of you know I love to run and what I discovered about my running is that it provides me with an outlet for a clear mind and a clear perspective. Just last week while out on my long run I could not help but think about that empty seat at the Thanksgiving table this year and I began to cry. Several miles in those tears turned to joy as the positive thinker in me had returned. I realized how fortunate I have been to have the love, support and friendship of my aunt for forty two years, thats right forty two years! Even though that chair at the Thanksgiving table might be empty, however my heart, mind and soul will be seated with her memories forever.

So today is Thanksgiving Day and as we gather to give thanks for the ones we love, our own lives and all the wonderful things we’ve been afforded, I myself am most thankful for a lifetime of memories of not only my aunt but my entire network of family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My aunt Barbara and uncle Pat at our house Thanksgiving 2010.

My aunt Barbara and uncle Pat at our house Thanksgiving 2010.

My mom and my aunt Barbara at our house Thanksgiving 2010.

My mom and my aunt Barbara at our house Thanksgiving 2010.

This image of L. - R. my mom, sister, aunt Lorraine, wife and aunt Barbara was taken at my cousin Brian's wedding.

This image of L. – R. my mom, sister, aunt Lorraine, wife and aunt Barbara was taken at my cousin Brian’s wedding.

My aunt Mary, left, uncle Pat and aunt Barbara Thanksgiving 2009 on Long Island

My aunt Mary, left, uncle Pat and aunt Barbara Thanksgiving 2009 on Long Island

My aunt Barbara  seen here Christmas 1969 at my grandmothers house in Floral Park, New York.

My aunt Barbara seen here Christmas 1969 at my grandmothers house in Floral Park, New York.

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