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The Thanksgiving That Wasn’t

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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no ... It’s my sister! She came to the rescue this year by hosting Thanksgiving. Here’s the story...

We have hosted our family Thanksgiving for the last 5 years or so. We live in a mountain resort community so everyone drives up here, stays for a night or two, and we make a big dinner for everyone.

The last few years, my sister did all the cooking; our contribution was buying most of the groceries and giving everyone a place to sleep. We even provided a snowfall one year, enough to take the kids sledding ... (okay, maybe we had some help with the snowfall).

It was always fun to see everyone but it was exhausting for us, especially for my wife Chris because she is dealing with the aftermath of metastatic breast cancer and the treatment that she is still receiving after 9 1/2 years.

This year we realized that we were simply unable to host everyone. Chris’s fatigue is profound and I am buried with work. We had to consider much more than simply surviving the time they were here. There was also the preparations for their arrival and the cleanup after they left. We talked about it and decided it was simply too much for us in our current condition.

My sister was very understanding and was happy to host everyone at her home instead. Now all we have to do is drive about 90 minutes each way and bring a few things. Other than that we will be able to enjoy the holiday without over-extending ourselves.

There’s a lesson here: you have to say "no" if there is simply no way you can do something. In this case it was hosting Thanksgiving for the family but the principle applies to just about anything you have to do but can’t. The circumstances don’t matter and neither do the reasons. If you decide you can’t, then you can’t. Period.

You always have a choice, no matter how obligated you feel. We felt duty-bound to carry on the tradition of “Thanksgiving in the mountains” for our family, but we knew that it would just be too much for us under the circumstances. Thanks to my sister we were able to make other arrangements and now we can concentrate on our challenges.

Say "no" if you have to.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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