First Person: Her Final Thanksgiving

The Story Behind the Thanksgiving Photo

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First Person: Her Final Thanksgiving

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JoAnna and Great Grandma 2010

Every photo has a story, and on this Thanksgiving, Yahoo! News asked readers to share one photo, and the story behind it, that holds meaning for them. Here's one.

FIRST PERSON | My great grandma was the head of my family. She was married to the most wonderful man I've ever met. He died the day before Thanksgiving in 2006. It was one of the worst pains I've ever experienced. As a family, we were aware my great grandma had Alzheimer's, but once grandpa died, her condition worsened. She would often retreat to her own world and wouldn't notice those around her. The moments she was lucid were rare, but precious. This picture is from 2010, the last year she was really "with" us. I was in the kitchen preparing the vegetables and grandma joined me. We reminisced and talked and laughed -- something we hadn't done in a very long time.

After that holiday season, her condition took almost all that was left of her. She began sleeping most of every day and explained that she no longer had any motivation to cook or clean because she didn't have anyone to take care of since grandpa died. I strongly believe that when he died, he took a huge part of grandma with him.

We ultimately had to put her in a nursing home, which was tough on everyone, including grandma. We tried to bring everything from her home that we thought would make her comfortable, but it was nearly useless. She would often say she felt like we dumped her in the middle of the ocean to be forgotten about. It was heart-wrenching. The months passed and she grew more and more distant. In the spring, she fell and broke her hip. The doctors said it was a life-shortening injury, and they couldn't have been more accurate. Within a week, grandma had passed. Her dying wish was that we stick together as a family and not let little things ruin our bond.

It didn't take long for her five children to begin fighting over the money her and my grandpa had put away. The family has never been the same. Death truly brings out the worst in people and I have seen sides of my family that I never knew existed. They are greedy and inconsiderate.

As the upcoming holiday season approaches, I find myself missing our matriarch more and more. This year, instead of celebrating Thanksgiving with the family, we are all going separate ways and choosing not to be together. Grandma was the one who held the family together, and without her, we are lost. I'm not sure if togetherness is just a thing of the past, but I can only hope that we find it within ourselves to listen to grandma's dying wish, stop worrying about the money, and be a family once again.

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