World English Dictionary
|2.||the body of customs, thought, practices, etc, belonging to a particular country, people, family,|
or institution over a relatively long period
|3.||a specific custom or practice of long standing|
Over the days from that last discussion with the medical team until the day Kenton left this earth, he reminded us at least daily that our traditions were something that held our memories, something that would bring us peace, and were a necessary part of life. Even with him gone, those traditions must be honored, cherished, and carried out. There would need to be changes, yes, but they could not be neglected, forgotten, or ignored, for he knew that in those traditions we would remember, we would find joy, and we would feel him near.
July just happens to be the month filled with more traditions than any other for our family. Part of that comes from small town living where celebrations are commonplace.
The 4th of July is celebrated in a big way here in our little hometown, and for 10 of the 11 years that we've lived here (and the 2 years prior to that when we lived in town), we have participated - the rodeo, the parade, the festivities on city square, a drive to Lewiston, ice cream at Casper's, and pizza in the field (or a cookout at Favorite's) while waiting for fireworks. Last year, Luke and McKayslin were home for some fun on city square and fireworks. Kenton and I were at PCMC - we had ice cream in his room and watched fireworks from his window in room 4417.
This year was year 10 of 11. Things were a little different. We rode in the parade promoting Kenton's Cup. We skipped city square. We went to Lewiston. And had ice cream. We ordered pizza. We had a picnic at the cemetery. We played games there. We would have watched fireworks there also, but the sprinklers came on. I can only imagine the giggles escaping from Kenton as he watched us scurry with all of our stuff to the car! Our fireworks watching happened at Favorite's house.
The 24th of July, Pioneer Day, is a big deal here in Utah. There are more fireworks, more tradition. Every year for 15 years now, we have bought an ice cream treat, and watched the fireworks from a parking lot. This is the very last tradition that we were able to complete normally as a family. No modifications. Just straight up tradition.
12 years we had Kenton with us.
This year, we knew this was going to be a challenging day. We knew we needed to take this tradition and keep it as complete and as unchanged as we could. It was going to be different without our boy. McKayslin asked, "Can we bring Kenton to the fireworks with us? I mean, can we bring a picture of Kenton to fireworks with us so we can see him?" What a wonderful idea that turned out to be! We printed a 5x7 photo of our Kenton, framed it, and took it with us to the parking lot. We picked up our ice cream treat, and sat in our chairs, eating ice cream, sharing memories, and enjoying fireworks along with our boy. I have a feeling this is going to be something we do often.
Traditions are necessary, important, and critical to our healing. Kenton is closer when we honor that promise we made to carry through with our traditions. We miss him. We miss his smile, his hugs, his giggle, his encouragement, his strength. Oh, how we love that boy!