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Eagan subdivision lights up for Christmas – again – to remember neighbor

For the second year in a row, an Eagan neighborhood will shine bright for Cheryl, who fought pancreatic cancer for two years.

EAGAN, Minn. — During their 54 years of marriage, Jake and his wife Cheryl looked forward to Christmas.

"It meant family," Jake said. "Just a time to share love."

They passed that love to their daughter, Ann.

"My mom – she was love in a capsule. Christmas was really her season," she said. "It was a wonderful opportunity for her to love on people, whether it was baking cookies or Christmas shopping or putting out the little Christmas houses. She just really loved being with people and making sure people felt loved."

That's why last holiday season Jake arranged an extravagant Christmas display throughout their Eagan neighborhood, as a love letter to Cheryl during her final days. 

"At a really dark time in our lives, at the end of Mom's journey with pancreatic cancer," Ann said, "having the Christmas lights really brought color, and joy, and a bit of brightness to those last few weeks she was with us."

Cheryl died in December 2021. 

This holiday season will be the family's first without her.

"With the really warm fall that we had, it was kind of a surprise moment," Ann said. "I was sitting with Dad and I was like, 'hey, are we doing the lights again this year?'"

The answer was emphatic.

"I just said, 'we're going to do it!'" Jake said.

On Monday evening, with darkness falling an hour earlier for daylight saving time, the neighborhood gathered to light up the night in Cheryl's honor. Starting around 5 p.m., the trees began to shine with Christmas colors, as neighbors mingled near a food truck with snacks, cider and hot chocolate. 

Credit: KARE 11
An Eagan neighborhood came together Monday to remember Cheryl, as they lit up the neighborhood for Christmas in her honor again.

"It's a wonderful time to start the holiday season and bring everyone together, but also a really wonderful way to say 'thank you' to the amazing neighborhood and these amazing friends and family who have supported us the last two years," Ann said. "It's brightness. It's love. It's light. It brings me joy and it helps me to feel Mom's love."

If only Cheryl could see her neighborhood one more time.

"I think," Jake said, "she'd be very pleased."

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