When Saying Goodbye to a Thanksgiving Tradition Brings Sadness

A piece of pumpkin pie on a wooden table with two pinecones in the backgroundThanksgiving week is here once again and it will be the same as it has been since 2000. My dad and I will leave Saint Louis and drive almost 14 hours to go to my aunt’s who lives outside Washington D.C.

It’s been the same for so long that it isn’t just a tradition — it’s expected. From the towns we drive through, to the feeling of relaxation I feel when we get there, to my aunt giving me all sorts of trouble and kidding with me about food touching to the drive home on Sunday as the sun comes up.

It’s all been the same for 17 years, but this will be the last one. You see, my aunt will be moving to Saint Louis next year so the traditions as I know them will come to an end. I, having Asperger’s, enjoy sameness. I want it. I crave it. And to know that this is the end is difficult.

Sure, Thanksgiving of 2018 will bring new traditions, new experiences, and not having to spend 28 hours in the car might be nice, but it isn’t what is known.

I wonder for others out there if holidays bring this same desire of sameness. My memories are kept in order by annual events throughout the year. This might sound strange, but my memories are associative and the trip to D.C. is more than just Thanksgiving; it’s the passage to winter. It’s the marking of the end of the year which, for me, is one of the saddest days of the year because it will never be the year it was ever again.

I’m 34 and you would expect that adjusting would be easier, but I know come Sunday morning as we leave one last time that it is going to bring tears to my eyes and a tradition that has spanned half my life will come to a final end.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to a holiday tradition? Join the conversation in the comments section.

Aaron Likens on a sailboatAaron Likens, author of Finding Kansas: Decoding the enigma of Asperger’s Syndrome, and the National Autism Ambassador for Easterseals, has spoken to over 80,000 people at over 900 presentations and has given to the world a revelation of how the Autism Spectrum Disorder mind works. His willingness to expose his inner most thoughts and feelings has unveiled the mystery the Asperger’s mind. Join him on his journey from hopelessness to hope.

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  1. S Says:

    Aaron, this post brings so much light to recent events in my love ones (who has the same diagnosis) life. When something isn’t the same as it was the year prior- he just can’t fathom the change. I’m beginning to understand more and more about him by following your journey. Once again thank you. Thank you for showing light to those of us who have been walking through darkness for so long.