What happens when an aging mother cannot be the high priestess of the holiday planning?
Why is she the high priestess. Hanukkah and Christmas are really high holy days. Women are traditionally in charge of planning these events that according to the UK can take up to 24 major tasks. Women are to organize the entire ritual, get religious instruments- menorah, crèche Christmas tree- all symbols of returning light, plan the ritual menu, shop for it and set a large table with their best china for the high holiday meal . Then they get out all the boxes of holiday decorations, bedeck the house, make a Christmas or Hanukah gift list and then – shop for all gifts, invite (or leave out) guests or family. Set the table (have all the ritual china and decorations)
Organize games or ceremonies. And on and exhaustingly on.
When girls get married they get silver and china that’s usually get stored away and comes out of the dark cabinet for rare occasions. No one tells them that at 50, 60 70, there will be a critical use. Those dishes and silver are used to take over the holiday from their failing Mom who used to be the high priestess but cannot manage anymore or just wants to let go of it all because it is a mammoth overwhelming task.
There is a missing ceremony is our world and that is passing on the role of high priestess to a younger woman in the family who will take over. It is called succession. But the transition is usually in a crisis with an aging Mom, not planned for, discussed and left until the floor falls through or Mom’s in the emergency room. The transition of power is not gradually made to accommodate the aging high priestess and rituals that provide the glue to the continuity of the family.
Find out more in my book, Care Managers Working With the the Aging Family ,chapter “Dependency and Loss “