Keeping traditions live won’t stop death. What good are traditions without the people who surrounded me with love when I was a child? My life is slowly drawing to an end. I am 53. Now that may not seem very old to you, but my grandparents have been gone for decades. How long do my parents have left? Who will I be when they are gone? In whose memories will I live on after my time runs out?
I came long after Tevye. I am the great grandchild born in America. In America we made new traditions. I have made my own memories. I know traditions are lost, languages are lost, faith is lost. I know life goes on — gets better in many ways. I know these things. But they do not comfort me.
In a way, I am sad because I think no-one will remember me with fondness and smiles and tears the way I remember Grandma and Grandpa Druchunas, Aunt Madelyn, and Uncle Albie. That no one will save my favorite hand-written brownie recipe the way I save Grandpa Tolen’s. That no one will pore over old photos of me wondering what I was really like because they only new me through the lens of their own childhood. But really I am sad because the people who made me me are slowly disappearing from my life and my world is diminished by their absence.
I’ve been staying home and moping most holidays since I moved to Vermont. I say I’m enjoying my traditions quietly, alone with my husband. Some years I’m telling the truth. But sometimes I lie.