By Jessie Voiers, KSWB Blogger of the Month for December
Thanksgiving is right behind us, and Christmas is fast approaching. With the holidays on my mind I can’t help but think about traditions.
In our family we do the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas activities. The turkey and all the fixings graced our table on Thanksgiving, and our tree is already decorated and lighting up our living room.
Of course, those traditions are nice and enjoyable. But it is some of the smaller traditions that mean the most to me. My mom died seven years ago, and since that time I’ve found it is traditions that help me keep her alive in my life.
Jessie, right, with her sister and her mom
Over Thanksgiving we spent time with my mom’s family, my aunts and uncles. Knowing that the food they cooked was the exact same food she cooked reassured me that, even though she wasn’t physically with us, she wasn’t really gone. They say the same dinner time prayer she said, they remember the same stories she told us, and, most of all, they give the same amazing hugs. Traditions connect us firmly to the people we love the most.
My children never had the opportunity to meet their grandma. My mother never held her grandson close. Yet my kids know their Grandma Dee! My son speaks of her as if she is someone who is actively involved in his life. The reason he feels that connection to her is because we share those traditions with him. When I make meatloaf I tell him about how much I loved her meatloaf. When I hang ornaments on the tree I tell him about her mission every year to find the biggest tree possible! And when I tuck him in at night I say the same prayers with him and sing the same songs that she did. Each of those traditions have helped me create a feeling of connection between the kids and my mom.
Most of all, traditions have helped me heal from the loss of my mom. While I still grieve for her and miss her every day, I have been able to move forward because of traditions. I know that by sharing her traditions and memories with others it acknowledges her and keeps her present in my everyday life. When I share traditions with others it is a way to honor her and celebrate her. It reminds me of her love for her family and friends. And most of all it reassures me that the time I spend building traditions with my own children is time well spent.
Maybe someday when I’m long gone my children will be telling their own kids about how funny our Elf on the Shelf was or how I always seemed to burn the meatloaf that my own mom made so well. When we pass on traditions we never lose the people we love the most.