• Alyse

Traditions and Deadlines

I can tell it's been a while since my last blog post when I come back to write a post and the entire site I host this on has been updated and I can't seem to navigate it anymore!

Haha, just kidding, it has been updated, and it has been a while, but I got this!

Tomorrow is May Day! May Day, May Day!

The day that all of us here in UT can finally start planting things and letting them grow, however much it may or may not have snowed during the month of April (which it did again today!). It seems to snow more in spring then in winter, at least this year.

In past years I've tried to make some May Day traditions by planting little flowers in cute little containers and handing them out to people that I love. That's a harder tradition to keep up then I realized. Somehow traditions are important to me though, and this year I've come up with a new one.

It was Grandma Jane's tradition to save the cans from her canned food after using the food inside of it. She would rinse out the cans and put them in a pile next to the sink during the month of May. On Memorial Day, her lilacs would be in full bloom and she would put water and cut lilacs from her bushes in those cans to take to the graves of her passed loved ones. In our last home I planted lilac bushes, and although they didn't flower for the first couple of years, once they got huge I kept that tradition going, taking lilacs to the graves on Memorial Day in used cans that I would rinse out and place by the sink.

This year however, we don't live in that home that had the lilacs anymore.

Part of the pain of letting go of the house that was too big for us was letting go of all of the plants I had planted specifically because of my garden loving Grandma Jane. Lilac and butterfly bushes, honeysuckle that birds had nested in, several different types of roses, and my tulips. This is the first year since she passed that I don't have any of it.

Letting go of the past is hard. Letting go of past traditions is even harder. What I've learned after years and years of my life spent grieving for my family is that it's like learning to cook. You can watch how someone else cooks, and even get ideas from them or try the exact recipe they have, but it will never be the same, and eventually you make it your own anyway.

I've got to let go of some of the traditions I'm having a hard time keeping up, and be OK doing things my own way. Making memories with my family the way I do them, and not worry so much about how Grandma used to do it. (However much that pains me.)

So my new tradition for the month of May is to plant three little flower pots. One for each woman that raised me. Mom, Teresa and Grandma Jane. I've written their names on them, filled each one with dirt, and sprinkled a handful of seeds in each one, and my hope is that by Memorial Day, the day we all go to visit our dead people, there will be flowers blooming in each little pot.

I'm using this as a way to remember each one of them throughout the month of May, and bring life to an otherwise tragic story in my life. I'm using it to teach my children that even though these people have died, they still live inside of us, our memories, and we can honor them by bringing life back into the world for them. Each day my children and I will have something to talk about as we watch these flowers begin to grow, and on Memorial Day we will be able to proudly display our flowers upon each grave.

This is my hope.

These flowers also serve a seperate purpose for me this month as I struggle to finish the second draft of my book and hand it back to my editor who has given me a deadline of May 31.

This book is for the three women I'll be giving the flowers to. This book is because of them. This book is theirs, maybe even more then it is mine. These flowers will serve as my muse to push forward and maybe by having them around and watching them grow I'll get a little closer to the message I'm trying to uncover in my writing to share with the world.

Again, this is my hope.

These three women were my entire world, and they were each taken from me one by one. I need reminders right now to keep me from forgetting why I started this in the first place.

You never know what you can learn from a few flowers, and I hope to learn a great deal from them.

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