…and I could wake up on Monday.
One holiday that always was tied in to my upbringing and childhood was Easter. There was always the Holy Week services, walking down the hill with two or three of my classmates on Good Friday and we would go to all five of the parishes in the area and say a prayer. As I got older, I helped a few friends decorate the altar for Easter Sunday and pin the grave that the crucified Jesus would lay in on Good Friday and get the side altar for exposition on Holy Thursday and through the weekend.
On the secular front, when nephews were younger, I would go to the local confectioner in town and get everyone an Easter egg, including my Mom, who was a coconut creme girl.I would always buy my Mom a white hyacinth for Easter, kind of in homage to all the Easter processions I walked in as a kid. My brother Bob would always get her a grape one. My Dad, when he was around, always got her an Easter lily. When I was in high school, my brother would bring home a horseradish root which was divine. See, it was as if it were homeopathic we would take turns with the grater and a bowl while sitting on a stool on the front porch and we would grind our own horseradish. Who needed decongestant? Bobby and I both still have Philadelphia sinuses, so we didn’t mind.
When I was a younger, the Polish tradition dictated that we are up early Holy Saturday morning, as the priest would be coming to your house to bless your Easter table. You would have a carved butter lamb on it, Easter basket, your kielbasa, babka, which is Polish cake/bread ,your horseradish, farmers cheese,hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper, wine and oil and vinegar on the table. All had some significance for the Risen Lord. As we got older, we took the baskets, and my brother still does, down to church to have the food blessed.
For six of the past ten years, I would have an Easter brunch here for my family, and then go to Jersey to one of Shingleman’s sister’s for Easter. The past four years were quiet for me, as I was watching Mom with Bob. It was the best, and saddest time with her, as her faith was steadfast, but you knew there was an expiration date that you just couldn’t see yet.
I really don’t know how I am going to get through Sunday. Yes, I have the memories of my Mom, but when you go with other people, they really don’t care HOW you are feeling. For all they care, your grief stopped when you put your Mother in the ground, It’s not that easy. Somehow, I guess I am going to have to try to get through it, wishing instead I could be alone with memories of Mom. I just hope people will leave me alone, as things have been on the edge for both Shingleman and myself, and we are shot. We are good actors, because when people see us, they don’t figure it out. Our smile goes off as quickly as it goes on. We have both been through a ton since the holiday, and, quite frankly, we are still going through it.
I would happily trade places with the younger me who walked in Easter procession in 1967. The current me is so deep in emotional loss that it almost takes my breath away, as it is that intense.
“You can’t go home again.”……if only I could.