Thursday, December 09, 2010

Missing traditions

by Jenni

I’ve found it interesting how reading some of the posts on this blog have influenced my own blogging. I was reading Jenny’s post from Tuesday and started thinking about my own traditions.

I am one of those people that clings to traditions, especially now that I have children. Traditions mark the passage of time and celebrate the rites we experience in each phase of our lives. I’m not adverse to new things and I am always willing to try something new, but there are some things that have just “always been that way” and I don’t want to change those things. I love traditions so much that I can actually hear my husband’s eyes roll when I tell him (in good Lutheran fashion), “That’s an interesting idea, but let’s do it this way because that’s the way it’s always been done.”

This year, though, I find myself clinging to traditions that no longer exist. In February, my mom died. Last Christmas I remember thinking to myself, “This may be the last time we do this,” but I refused to acknowledge what would really be different. This year I am struggling as these traditions I have lived with for so long (some of them for my whole life) won’t be the same. I’m struggling as I realize that I need to start at ground zero and make new traditions with my own family. How do you continue the same old traditions when the person who led those traditions is gone? The family dynamics of grief are also affecting how we (my father, brother and I along with our own families) are interacting with these traditions. When grief is so new and still raw, how do we do what we’ve “always done?”

I’m sure that right now you’re anxiously waiting for my appropriate essay conclusion that tells you how my family has made it through this and how excited I am for the new traditions. Yeah, that would be a lie. We’re still struggling. I don’t have the answers for how to make new traditions when most of the old traditions have crumbled around me. All that I know is that I have to take it one day at a time and I know the prospect of having to do that sucks.


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