Easter Without Mom

family

My mom has only been gone for 16 days yet, we have had to go through two holidays without her.  Anyone that knew her, knew that holidays were “her thing”.  She always went overboard with the festivities.  Even as she got progressively sicker with COPD, she had a hand in making the holidays special.   It did not matter what the holiday was.  Today, Easter Sunday, was the first day I had gone back to church since the funeral.  I really did not know how it was going to be. I got a little teary eyed a few times during the mass, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

For many years, we had been celebrating Easter at a nearby restaurants.  Everything was prepared and done for us.  No one had to cook, no one had to clean, and it was easy for everyone.  No one felt like going out to celebrate this year.  Instead, we had so much food left over from all of the services for my mom, that we froze it, and then were able to eat a big dinner at my grandmother’s home instead.  It was a nice, quiet, (well, quiet for our family), event.  There were 22 of us this afternoon. We had a house filled with people, way too much food and lots of laughter. The kids had a big Easter egg hunt in Grammy’s backyard and we kept everything simple.

Because of her illness, my mom had been able to do less and less each year.  Therefore we had some time to gradually get used to her being unable to participate as much as she had in the past.  She was still always involved in the holidays and the preparations, but got frustrated with the fact that she could do so little.  She was certainly able to remember how things needed to be though, and she had no problem giving directions to everyone else.

Today, we all were missing my mom.  Each of us in a different way I am sure, but there were so many times that we were able to smile at our memories of her.  We joked about anyone who sat in “mom’s chair”, the one she always sat in at any holiday.  My aunt and I laughed when we needed her to tell us if the ham was ready, (she the Jewish girl, and me the pork hater).
I thought that the holidays might deepen our sorrow, make us feel guilty for celebrating or even depressed, but it didn’t.  Instead, these two holidays have given us the chance to relive memories and have given us the opportunity to take time to remember what made these days so special while she was here.
Holidays and traditions have always been so significant in our family and mom was a big reason for that.  We will continue to celebrate with each other, with these big family gatherings, and make the holidays as magical as she wanted them to be.  It might mean that we need to step into a new rhythm in our lives doing it without her, but we will find ways that make it work and she will be there all around us in spirit, just as I am sure she was today.
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