So I suppose I don’t celebrate Easter anymore. It comes to me every year, since losing her, a bittersweet holiday. I, very much, want to decorate eggs, hide them and then watch the kids find them. I would love to eat all the good Easter food that goes along with the festivities. I still do those things, but my heart just isn’t in it.
I know the last thing my mother would want is for me to stop celebrating a holiday because it was the last time that most of my kids got to spend with her. But regardless, Easter brings back painful images of my mother wrapped in her afghan in a wheelchair, watching the kids hunt for Easter eggs for her very last time. The sad faces of my children, knowing they were seeing their grandmother for the last time ever are a picture that has been imprinted in my brain. A picture that I would never wish to see again, but still it exists.
Every year since, like clockwork, I get incredibly depressed starting Easter Sunday and continuing into May 3. It’s unfortunate that Jovie’s birthday happens to correspond with the day my mother was laid to rest. And it is now starting to make more sense. Jovie is so much like my mother in every way. It would be fitting that as my mother’s body was put into the earth, a little bit or all of her spirit would possess my then 5-year old. (She’s about to turn 10.)
I see so much of my mother in Jovie. Her giving spirit is one that can’t be suppressed. If she loves you, she will celebrate you in every way that she can. She is quite literally the happiest girl I’ve ever met in my life. She is content with just living and giving to others and never asking for anything in return, a trait my mom exuded.
The original intention of this blog was to talk about why I don’t celebrate Easter the way that I used to but I slowly started to realize as I was writing it that, I do celebrate it, just in my own way. Recently I’ve been living in a domestic violence shelter and have gotten very close with some of the women here. So close that they almost feel like family and I will fiercely defend them if need be.
Maybe for Easter this year, I was given the eye opener that the people in my life that are caring and lovely can make up for a little bit of what I lost when my mother died. Not just in losing her of course, because my family has quite literally fallen apart. In the last day, I have gained a sister, 2 mothers, and 3 more children to love and take care of. Because I’ve chosen to do my best to help these people as much as I can while I’m here. And it feels good to have these relationships again.
When my mom died, I was so concerned with keeping her memory pristine, keeping our family what she made it to be, but that isn’t how life works, is it? We take those memories and use them to make more memories for more people. The women here in this shelter may not have ever met my mother, but through me, she has met and cared for all of them the way she would have if she were physically here today.