They say firsts are hard. Yesterday we had the first big first: mom and dad’s wedding anniversary. Their 66th.
Would have been? Was?
How do you count it now that mom is gone? In some sort of past impossible could have been tense or parallel? Or do we just mark it on the continuum of our linear calendars?
Dad corrected himself: “It would have been our 66th… No, it is. It is our 66th anniversary.”
Mom died in June, a few months before the high holidays, giving us time to ready ourselves for all the firsts to come.
- first Thanksgiving
- first Christmas
On this first anniversary without her, her absence is still fresh, raw.
It is our 66th…
I’m not sure how to prepare for the high holidays.
Gird my loins? Steel myself? Brace? Grit?
I’ll need a healthy dose of grace. Mom was a giant in just about any season of the year, but come mid-November, her colossal presence wafts its way into many homes and bellies.
- ginger snaps
- sugar cookies…
What was your favorite?
Filling the Absence
Her absence may be less “fresh” come November and December, but the size of it will swell exponentially. Our efforts to fill the cookie tubs will never match her abundance.
Leviathan. Behemoth. Mammoth.
And, lord knows, I’m no match for her skills. All of my attempts to make buckeyes have been solid fails.
Moving into and through these firsts, what’s the best strategy?
Hold up the traditions?
Remember but let the traditions go?
I’m not sure. I’ll read up but I doubt that grief has a one-size-fits-all strategy.
The best I can do as I find my way through the darkness is give myself and others grace as we muddy this first set of holidays and memories with our awkward steps (and missteps) through them, and remind myself to seek the joy in those moments, even in failed attempts at buckeyes and divinity.
Happy 66th anniversary, Mom! I know some years he forgot or you forgot, maybe even both of you forgot, but, believe me, dad remembered this year.
Greg made flowers inspired by your wedding photos.
Dad and I ate fried fish from Longbranch.
We remember you and celebrate in our hearts, embracing the remains of a good marriage and a life well-lived.
©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2022
I almost missed this. Anniversaries are hard when one spouse has passed away. I think each individual and family must decide how they want to play this. Grief, is so personal! Hugs!
That marriage lives on. Through your heart and through your pen. And through those you embrace still! I found in the first holidays after Mom went home a round of sweet remembrance. And ‘Oh, Mom would have loved this!’ I feel she WAS there!
I think you already know the answer to your question, deep in your heart. You’ll know what is right when the time comes. If the answer is “let go of old traditions and begin some new ones”, just know there is no wrong answer. Ditto for the other choices. I would also add that this isn’t a time for stressing. Please, be kind to yourself. Alana ramblinwitham
Thanks, Alana. I’m going to see where the days take some of these things, not stress over them.
It has been 22 years since Dad passed away. June 12 is still their anniversary.
You will be raw at every holiday that passes; especially the first year. As new memories get created, the would will seem less fresh. Mom still misses Dad beyond measure. She’s 94 now.
Thanks, Adela. You remind me how fortunate I am to have had both parents for so long. Love to you and your mom as we move towards the holidays.
In the end you’ll uphold onto some cherished traditions which will come to mean even more in the coming years and then as life keeps changing you’ll add new traditions that remind you that life keeps going. Give yourself the space & grace to do what feels right for you & your family. I’m so sorry that you’ve become part of this club that nobody wants to be in.
Thanks. I’m open to receive all the grace I need. Lord knows grace is required.
I wonder whether I hope you’re successful with those buckeyes, or that you never are. Either way, I hope you find joy in the doing, and the remembering.
Heh!! If mom has anything to do with it, I’ll be successful. She wasn’t “stingy” with her expertise. Teacher through and through.