Local Family Uses Holiday To Remember Loved One

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While many families spend Thanksgiving or Christmas together, the Merchant family uses the Sunday before Memorial Day as their big family holiday.

"This is our big annual day. We get to do a lot today we have a lot of friends come a lot of family from out of town," said Melvonee Merchant, family member.

For the past seven years, the family has gotten together on the same Sunday to remember one of their family members, Virginia Ann Merchant, who died after a battle with cancer.

"It keeps my heart beating when I think about her. It makes me want to continue to reach my goals that she used to teach me," said LaBrandon Searcy, family member.

"She was just a sweet person all the way around," said Merchant.

Family members say there are many ways they could be spending the holiday weekend. But they're happy being together, celebrating a life they say was lost too early.

"This is one of our ways of remembering her and it's just a good thing," said Merchant.

"This is our way of keeping her alive and dealing with out mourning and continuing to keep her in our heart," said Searcy.

Each year the family makes a t-shirt in honor of their lost grandmother, mother, aunt and friend, Virginia. As the family continues to grow, her memory grows with it.