Keeping the Traditions

It’s July, which means for some this is a weird time to talk about traditions.  Normally topics of tradition come up during the Holiday season, but what about the traditions in the other times of the year? Those are traditions we don’t seem to acknowledge during other times of the year are important too.

My mom and I had MANY Christmas traditions, but she and I also had many traditions that happened during the other 10 months of the year.  We had a tradition of going spring clothes shopping the Friday after I got out of school for spring break.  She would come pick me up and we’d head straight for the mall to eat a yummy snack and then hit the sale racks for some cute spring trends.  During the summer, Mom and I would always go to the Fourth of July parade and watch fireworks somewhere.  We also loved going back to school shopping.  One of those days would be to go to the first day of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  We would save up to have a budget to go and we would be there right when they opened on the first day of the sale so we could avoid lines and make sure that we could get things in the sizes we wanted.  We would then spend another day going to Target and office supply stores to get all of my school supplies that would always be bright colored and color coordinated.

Yes, I am realizing that a lot of our traditions revolved around shopping, but what can I say? We were very good at it.  When she died, I had to figure out what traditions I was going to continue.  Of course, for awhile I just did them on my own.  The next spring break in 2011 after my mom died, I went to the mall on my own, got my salted pretzel from Annie Anne’s and went to find some good deals on some new spring clothes since now I was on an extreme budget.  The next Anniversary Sale, I made my budget and was there on the first day of the sale, first thing in the morning before work.  A couple weeks later, I did back to school supply shopping with my boyfriend now husband.  We made sure to find the cutest supplies, and per usual, they had to color coordinate.  I kept all of these traditions up until I was out of school.  I continued to go alone, but doing these things made me sad.  So I decided something about them had to change.

One of my best friends and I share one big thing in common- both of our mom’s have died.  This is something that she and I can understand about each other more than other people can.  I decided that she needed to be a part of my shopping traditions since she and I, much like my mom and I, have a natural habit of shopping well together.  She and I started going to the Anniversary Sale together, not on the first day since we have jobs now, but we also schedule a time to go.  One year, we also decided to bring my mother in law, and the three of us continue to go year after year and we make a day or an evening of it.  Today, we will make our annual trek to the mall to hit the sale and we are making a great self care day out of it.  And as excited as I am, I know there will be a ping of pain knowing Mom isn’t there to go with me, but that’s ok.  I choose to surround myself with people who care about my traditions and to keep them alive.


When we lose loved ones, we don’t just lose the person.  We lose all the moments of these traditions that we have looked forward to year after year.  We know that this person will no longer help us go shopping for school supplies.  We know that we will never have another Christmas caroling moment with them.  We know that we will miss out on so many missed opportunities.  But this does not mean that we have to lose the traditions altogether.  It’s ok for them to change and evolve.  That’s the thing with traditions, they can be whatever you want them to be.  What traditions did you and your loved one have? Which ones have you chosen to keep? How have they evolved since then?

Published by Bryna Talamantez

LMFT specializing in grief counseling for children, teens, adults and families.

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