Last year, when you died, I think that I had lost track of all space and time. You had been so ill, and we had been away and detached from all things that had made our lives normal. The Saturday after you died just made logical sense. It gave out of towners time to travel to be here to honor you. I did not realize that it was Holy Saturday and that the next day would be Easter. Because your services were on Holy Saturday, the meaning and emotions attached to Easter are forever changed for me.
That Holy Saturday was the picture-perfect Spring day. It was in the 60’s and the sun was shining. Skies were a breathtaking azure blue without a cloud to be seen. I remember getting out of the car at the funeral home, hesitant to go in, and standing with the sun on my face. I breathed in the crisp clean air and knew that this moment of beauty was about to dissolve for me forever. Give me one more moment of this beauty. Give me one more moment with you.
Ironies of the day were not lost on me. The symbolisms of the cycle of life came to me as our identical twin great granddaughters arrived to honor you. They had been born while you were in the hospital and neither of us had seen them. We had also lost another close family member less than two weeks before and here were these two precious babies reminding me of life’s cycles; two died and two were born. Why can’t we keep them all?
They talked about pain and passion. They talked about suffering and sacrifice. They talked about commitment to a higher purpose and power. They were talking about you.
And then a year went by. No one mentioned the unanticipated reactions to losing you. Who could have predicted the abandonments, betrayals and cruel treatment? Who does that to someone who has just lost their spouse? Worse yet, who could have predicted that it would come from those I trusted most and depended on to support me through this uncharted chaos of emotions? Maybe that was some of the pain they talked about. All I know was that I was blindsided and felt like I was encompassed in grief for my beautiful dead husband and now grieving for four people who were still alive. As I kiss you goodnight every night, I tell you that you would be ashamed of them. I know that you are.
Holy Saturday this year was identical to your Holy Saturday. It was another beautiful Spring day without a cloud in the sky following a week of vicious storms. I stood in our back yard watching the cardinals you sent to visit and missing you with a pain in my heart. How is it that a year has passed? How have I even survived this year without you? I watched those birds unable to control my tears. They say is gets easier—It does not.
Easter services were filled with the symbolisms of Spring and Easter. Regeneration. Renewal. Rebirth. I prayed for you and that you are celebrating your eternal reward. You were a good and decent man. God knows this and, I am certain, He greeted you at the gates of Heaven. Sometimes I smile thinking that you are certainly finding your way to be God’s First Assistant because He will not allow you to run the place and do it your way.
Last night was Easter night and you came to me in a dream. You were on your death bed and the doctor came in to formally and legally declare that you had died. I relive this moment thousands of times. The doctor left the room and we were together alone. I kissed you on your forehead and talked to you. A moment later, you sat up. I said, “Baby, they said you were dead.” You said, “I am not.”
I cherish the special Easter dream you sent to me with the poignant yet much needed reminder that in the spirit you are not dead. I feel you with me often. I feel you guiding me and leading me. But all of that does not mask my reality and that you are gone in the flesh and that I desperately miss you and need you here.