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Tomorrow, Dev, our chicken and I will go to church to commemorate six month’s since Mama’s passing.

Today, we started our own tradition and made Koliva. I watched Mama make these countless times, for other relatives and for my father.

There were tears mixed in with the ingredients. Especially when Dev said, “And one day, our chicken will make these for us.”

I am sitting here, listening to the rain, typing on the computer, trying to make sense of all these jumbled emotions and memories.

The wheat kernels I watched my mother prepare express the belief in everlasting life. The wheat kernels that Dev and I prepared this afternoon are our prayer that Mama is in a place of light.

Growing up, I was not allowed to participate until the end. My mother was the one who carefully mixed all the ingredients; I used my artistic skill in the decorating and presentation of the final product. Today, it was Dev doing the mixing and the talking.

Tomorrow morning, I will sprinkle the top with confectioners’ sugar, pressing down with waxed paper to ensure I have a smooth, compact top. With toasted almonds, I will form a delicate cross in the middle of the mound and on either side I will script my mother’s initials: E. S.

I remember, as young girl, attending Sunday School. The lessons were interesting enough and I would often come home with tons of crafts, stories and paper icons. The one-hour catechism class was the fun part.

The Divine Liturgy was not. Picture me dressed in a silly yellow dress with matching ribbons and black patent shoes, sitting for two hours, watching the back of the priest’s head, and listening to the cantors drag out each Amen. I trained myself to tune out the painfully long service, conducted in a language that even my parents didn’t fully understand, by staring at the iconography that covered the altar, the dome, and the church’s walls.

I knew that if I behaved, at the end of the service, I would join my parents in the adjoining hall and enjoy something sweet; something called koliva served in styrofoam cups with little plastic spoons.

While Koliva is served in remembrance of the dead, I will always associate the boiled wheat with breakfast cereal.

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Christine this is so interesting and beautiful. I'd love to try that someday . . .what a lovely way to conmemorate.

What a wonderful tradition. I will be thinking of you tomorrow morning...