Pass It On: A New Tradition

They found a new way to celebrate the lives of departed loved ones at Thanksgiving.

Posted in , Oct 13, 2014

A cooked turkey on a Thanksgiving Day table

Thanksgiving was coming but my three sisters and I didn’t exactly have attitudes of gratitude. We’d lost our mom in August and dad in September, and our beloved great-aunt and great-uncle just a few years before. How would we hold tight to family traditions without them?

At a women’s retreat I attend, we each lit a candle for someone who inspired us and said a few words about them. What if we did that at our Thanksgiving? My sisters loved the idea.

Before dinner, we lit four candles and went around the table, sharing memories about Mom and Dad and our great-aunt and uncle. How we never heard our great-aunt’s name without our great-uncle’s because they did everything together. How Dad’s droll humor would make us laugh when we least expected it.

My daughter, nieces and nephews recalled the times Memaw—their name for our mother—went all out throwing big holiday parties.

We’ve celebrated Thanksgiving like this for five years now. Once we’ve told our best family stories, we say grace—my great-aunt’s favorite tradition. We’ll always miss the loved ones we’ve lost, but our family traditions—old and new—keep them close to our hearts.

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