Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dead Traditions

One of the many lilies from Seth.

Dear Seth,
I am writing you this letter to let you know that election season has come and gone. 
Obama was re-elected.
I’m guessing you already know this.

So what’s the purpose of this letter?

You see, months ago, when the debuts started, I thought -
“I need to talk to Seth about all this political stuff going on. He’s great at telling me the pros and cons of each party.”

Then it hit me.

We had a tradition I didn't know we had.

You would always watch each party closely, watch the presidential debuts, and then fill me in. I always ignored it all and looked forward to our talks about politics, and I looked forward to seeing your opinion on it all.

As you know, I really don’t care about politics. But I do like to use my right to vote.

As Election Day grew closer, I grew more anxious. The one person I really needed to talk to about the election, is dead.

Once again, a tradition died with you.

A tradition I didn't know we had.

I didn't expect election season to be a huge grief trigger.
But man oh man, did it knock me down.

I remember when I realized a tradition died for the first time.

It was the first Easter after you died.

I woke up Easter morning. Even though my brain knew you were gone, I still expected to wake up to my Easter lilies.

Remember, you bought me lilies every year? And we would plant them together?

It was a tradition we had, that I didn't know we had.

I guess it was just the “norm” for Easter. I guess I expected my lilies. After all, you did it for years. Never once buying me the same lilies twice. So why would you stop doing that now?

For some odd reason, I still expected that tradition to carry on.

My brain isn't able to process that traditions died with you. I still expect the traditions to live on.

The Easter bunny my mom now carries on the Easter lily tradition. My garden is full of lilies from our “before” life, and my “after” life. The Easter bunny brings me amazing lilies now, making sure I don’t already have a certain lily before bringing them.

But who is going to carry on the Presidential Election tradition now? 

They say it’s the little things you miss when someone dies.

For me, it’s the traditions that the “old me” didn't realize were traditions at the time.

Nothing hurts worse than being smacked with a “dead tradition”.


  1. Well aint that the freaking truth ?!

    Yes, many traditions so subtle that I didn't even realize they were our house this was VERY subtle because most of my husbands "traditions" involved giving me crap, complaining and getting mad...but hidden in between rantings and complaints were saturday morning bagels and the very cooperative way we did yard work with me accomplishing one task and he another until the job was done and our little corner of the world looked nice.

    As long as our budget was good (which was most of the time thanks to his hard work) he would buy me flowers at Costco when he bought food (which he had to do if we were going to eat..buying and cooking food are not my best skills) so the first time I sent my adult son to do the Costco run, I put "flowers" on the shopping list and he got them.

    I really dont think I will overall have a really bad "first Christmas without him" for a number of reasons, but HIS tradition was the outside was HIS since we were first married and it really was HIS. THAT will tear my heart out. I could put a wreath on the door and deny the whole thing or I could do the whole lights and nativity thing in the yard with tears and snot running down my face...I dont yet know which I will do.

    1. My husband used to regularly buy me Costco flowers too.....I miss coming home and seeing them in a vase. He would say "they're pretty just like you". The first time I went to Costco after he died, it was as if I could feel his presence saying "Take care of yourself Mary, buy flowers." So I did. I continue to do that - not as often as he did and clearly it's not the same by any means. But the flowers in the vase on the counter ARE a reminder of his love toward me and our life together that was cut way too short.

    2. Tammy,
      The days leading up to the holidays are actually worse than the holiday itself. Don't think you have to do it all, I am almost at the 3 year mark, and I still only put up one wreath and one string of lights. I just cannot bear the thought of sorting through all the decorations, unwrapping each will leave me in more unwanted tears. Maybe someday, but not today.

  2. You are right hidden traditions that I never knew till they were gone . like today being Veterans day. Applebee's always offers the Vet a free meal and handles Icecream store offered the Vet a free cone Phil was an air force Vet and we would always go to Applebee's and he would get the free dinner and dessert would be the free cone. well no applebee's today and it really hit me that it was something we did every year and this year we didn't get to do it Ok it is something silly but boy did it kick me in the gut. another dead tradition another first for me to get through. Now on to Thanksgiving and Christmas and I just do not know how I am going to handle them.

  3. The election hit me like a ton of bricks. Marty always was pleased to exercise his right to vote and honor those who lost their lives for our freedoms. And while I tried this year to "get a grip" on what and who was on the ballot, must say I didn't do so well. I really needed his help and advice, both before and after the election. Others can advise and assure, but nobody can do it like him - mostly because I don't really trust anyone to know things, or me, like he did.

  4. Wonderful post speaks to so many of us. One of our favorite quotes was from a Woody Allen movie: "Tradition is the illusion of permanence". My beloved Tim and I had many "non-traditional" traditions and so this resonated with us. I really didn't think about the deeper meaning behind it until he died...we all create traditions that mean something to us but then when death comes, the illusion of permanence is all too real along with the horrible reality of grief that accompanies these traditions no longer shared with our loves. In the 3 years since Tim died, I have created rituals to honor our past traditions but the sting of his absence remains.

  5. I know. Election Day really bothered me too. It's all those little things that made us who we were together, isn't it? Those are the things that surprise me and hit so hard.