I had a distant cousin named David Anacker. He was the nicest man! He loved his family so much and had one of the biggest hearts on the planet earth!!! Twice, he honored me with a trip to Seattle, WA to attend the Anacker family reunion. The second reunion was not only for the Anacker family, but for anyone who’s family roots traced back to Breitungen, Germany. (Formerly the 3 towns of Herrenbreitungen, Altenbreitungen and Frauenbreitungen). He was my co-conspirator to have distant cousins who did not know each other, meet for the first time at that reunion. The Anacker family knows how to throw a reunion and we all had a blast!!!!
We announced at that reunion that the next time we held a reunion for the Decedents of Breitungen families, it would be held in Breitungen at the 1075th anniversary celebration of that community. Yes, 1075! We here in America do not have the sense of roots that our German cousins have, who have lived in their communities for countless generations. I was excited about the reunion in Germany, but knew I would not be attending, because I could never afford such a trip. David promised my cousin, Jeanne Eberlein-Burmeister and I that we would be going to the reunion in Germany, he was going to make sure that we got there.
A few years later David was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Many of us were saddened at the thought of losing David. He was so looking forward to all of us going to Germany the next year, and now, it appeared he would not be going. It is so hard to live many states away from someone when you know it is time to say good-bye to them, and you have no way of seeing them again.
While all of this was going on, I bought a raffle ticket to for a fund-raiser at a local private school in our area. My boss’s kids go to that school and every year, I would buy a ticket. Money was a bit tight that year, so instead of using my “mad” money, I wrote a check for it out of my husband’s and mine household account.
A month after we learned of David’s diagnosis of cancer, he passed away. You could tell how much he was loved, because there were many of us who were deeply saddened to hear of his passing. He touched so many lives. My heart ached for his kids, who adored their father.
The day after David passed away, the school I bought the raffle ticket from held their fundraiser. To my delight, I won a $2500 travel voucher from Bursch Travel here in Brainerd. I now had to tell my hubby I spent $100 on a ticket, because I won. He was thrilled I won. I told him being as I spent his money, I thought we should use it and go on a dream trip, like the Daytona 500 or the Indy 500. I’m married to the sweetest man on earth, and with tears flowing down his cheeks, he looked at me and said our dream trip could wait, because I have a bigger dream. He said David promised me I would go to the reunion in Germany, and my hubby felt that David just made sure it would happen!!
Going to Germany is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was a very happy time to be there. I took David’s picture with me everywhere I went, so in a way, he could be on the trip with us. We went to church on Sunday, and I fought back the tears the whole time we were in church. To sit in the pews that my ancestors have sat in for over 400 years was a very emotional experience. I don’t speak German, and didn’t understand a word of the sermon, but it didn’t matter. I felt like I belonged there. I felt an empty place in my heart suddenly fill up with joy. I felt I belonged, and that I had finally come home.
R.I.P David. I miss you very much! I will never forget you and I’ll never forget our trip to Germany. Thank-you for sending me there.