tradition

You Don’t Have to Be Home Alone on the Holidays

November 23, 2018
December anniversary dinner

How do you handle life’s transitions as the older generations age and the young ones grow up and marry? How do you maintain family connections, especially those time-honored holiday traditions and rituals? The aggrieved, widowed sister wrote Carolyn Hax, Washington Post advice columnist: Our extended family—siblings and kids—has always gathered at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last week I got a text from my sister saying she …

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Another Easter, Another Sinkhole

April 13, 2017
Easter lily

Pride goeth before a fall. I did not anticipate pre-Easter anxiety. I thought the weekend was all planned. I presumed too much—about myself and about my plans. During two years of blogging about grief and my snail-pace journey to reclaim joy, I have written repeatedly about those sinkholes called holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. They are tough markers for all who have lost loved ones. Widows, …

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Happy Birthday to Me!

March 17, 2016

I have lived to see three-quarters of a century go by, for today is my 75th birthday. Unlike those special days I associate with Lev, this is not a sinkhole. Because my birthday falls during Texas Spring Break—with my children and their families on different school calendars, going in different directions—we don’t have a tradition of gathering every year. In many ways that is a …

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Celebrating the 12th Day of Christmas

January 5, 2016
Traditional King Cake

Tomorrow is Epiphany…Twelfth Night…the Twelfth Day of Christmas on the liturgical calendar, when the Church celebrates the coming of the Kings to visit the baby Jesus. While scholars tell us that it is more likely that Jesus was a toddler living in a house with Mary and Joseph when the wise men came, my mental picture is still that of the kings with their gifts, …

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The Tradition of Santa Mouse

December 29, 2015
Santa Mouse

When I die, my children won’t fight over who gets the family silver. They will fight over Santa Mouse. That’s pretty typical in families. Good memories are more important than monetary value. In 1967 the Christmas theme of J.C. Penney’s children’s department was Santa Mouse—a picture book, pajamas and a huge stuffed mouse in the display window. Our first child was eight months  old. On Christmas Eve, in a …

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Taking Care of Me

December 16, 2015
Christmas tea

Today, I will take very good care of myself. I have carefully planned my day. I have six years experience commemorating my wedding anniversary by myself. Anniversaries and birthdays, like holidays, are sinkholes for widows; so I am not leaving anything to chance. After an early morning routine doctor’s appointment (scheduled by the doctor’s office, not by me), I will take a bouquet of Christmas …

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Soup’s On!

November 3, 2015
Thanksgiving table

While I love the traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I also try to honor the various traditions and dietary needs and quirks of my expanding family. Last year, preparing my first big family Thanksgiving meal since Lev’s death, I borrowed a leaf from the creative new American chefs and used old ingredients in new ways. Nowhere was that more obvious than in my sweet potato …

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