I Thought I Would Have the Holiday Blues

By Micha James

My maternal grandmother passed away close to Easter and, as death usually does, it created a new normal for me. Much of my life was consumed by her in recent years and I became extremely anxious about what the holidays would feel like without her.

For weeks, I had rehearsed my responses to those who may offer invitations to their homes for dinner. I prepared my son to do something we have never done before … eat Thanksgiving dinner at K&W. He was actually excited about it, but I am sure it made my grandmother turn over in her grave. She was not going to be here to taste my desserts and tell me what she told me every year: “Baby you did a good job. Don’t stop baking.” I was going to be able to dress normal because she was not going to be here to make me turn the heat up. I really just wanted to stay home to assure I had time and space to grieve.

As the saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I ended up at my client’s house caring for her while her daughter visited with family. Because those close to me know how important family is, they were shocked to learn I chose to work. I must admit, I was shocked myself, but I kept hearing my grandmother’s voice singing, “Only what you do for Christ will last.”

As those words resounded, the anxiety dissipated and energy was infused. I became excited about baking items I only bake twice a year. I even rearranged my schedule to make sure everything was baked ahead of time to deliver to my son’s teachers, our family and friends.

I ultimately realized my grandmother prepared me for such a time as this. I was raised Seventh-Day Adventist and my family ate together EVERY Saturday after church. Even if I did not attend church, the expectation was that I went to “Momma’s house” to eat. Hors d’oeuvres, main course, dessert, Russian tea and rolls, ALL HOMEMADE, were on a fully set table every week. Guest pastors, their
families and anyone my grandmother decided to bring home were welcomed. In fact, when my grandparents added on to their house, they didn’t expand the living quarters, but rather the dining area because she loved cooking and entertaining.

I thought I would have the holiday blues, but I am thankful for the traditions my grandmother instilled. While she is sorely missed, a day or two out of the year will not overpower the years of memories I have with her and the rest of the family surrounded by food. The knowledge, love and recipes shared around the table every Saturday have empowered me to begin my own holiday traditions. As I determine what those traditions are, I am reminded and advise you also to remember, “Only what you do for Christ will last.”

Micha James is a native of Winston-Salem and a proud graduate of Winston-Salem State University. She is a healthcare advocate and is passionate about servant leadership. She has one son, Michai, who is teaching her a lot about life through the eyes of a teenager. You can reach Micha at michalavae@nullgmail.com.


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