Easter is one of my favorite holidays. For me, it's the pinnacle of celebrating the gift of Salvation that the Father so freely offers us– even though we do not deserve such extravagant forgiveness. I don't care for the bunnies or the eggs or the candies. Just Jesus. It's joyful and brings happiness to my soul.
But this year is different.
It's been rumbling in my spirit, but last night I finally said it out loud.
"If only I can make it through Easter."
You see, last Easter was nothing but despair in my soul.
Last Easter was the very last holiday we spent with Vince, our favorite husband and daddy.
His last Easter, instead of being with family all day Saturday, celebrating and flying kites together, my beloved and I sat in an empty house and thought about his last days. We sat alone together on our couch and talked about what he wanted and needed in his last days on this earth. He talked about whether he wanted pain relief or if it felt more important to be alert. We talked about all the possibilities for his last moments and what would make him feel most comfortable and loved. Music or silence. Call family or not. Hospital or home. He trusted me to take care of all those moments for him.
Then we planned his funeral.
We planned his celebration of life service.
And my heart broke.
Vince had already thought about most of the details. He told me to let the children go with his parents to spend the day with cousins. When they left, I found out why. He had planned to discuss his funeral, and he didn't want our sweet children to hear the planning and begin mourning too soon. He was still caring for our needs, even as his body was beginning to stop.
Last Easter was much different than our other Easters. Most of our traditions were changed for us. We did read our Easter book together, but this time Vince's swollen retinas didn't allow him to see well enough to read the story. (Stupid brain tumor!) So the children gathered around him, and one of the older children read the words from Benjamin's Box while Daddy found the next object in our little box for us all to examine and touch.
Last Easter, nothing was right. Nothing felt joyful.
I didn't want to admit it to myself, but this year I dread the coming of Easter.
This year, there is too much grief at Easter. I don't know how to be joyful with so much grief wrapped around my heart.
Yes, I realize that the events of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus, is exactly why my beloved husband is not lost to me. I understand and am joyful that Jesus bought our salvation with his death and resurrection. But somehow, my grief has numbed my soul to this joyful reality. My soul cannot fathom it. Someday the rejoicing will come again, but that day is not yet.
I don't want Easter to be here without my Vince. Yet, I cannot stop it from coming. I cannot imagine how I will be able to walk through the events of that day.
But I know God's Grace will meet me.
The Father freely gives me His Grace for grief in each day. My prayer is that He will pour out for us enough grace in our grieving at Easter.
It seems like such a strange thing to ask of Him. How do you ask for grace, help, mercy in your grieving on one of the most joyful days of the year, the day that Salvation came to us? It feels like such an imposition. Such an insult to the Father. Yet, I know that He understands.
And I am ever thankful.
His grace. His unearned favor. God's unmerited favor for us. He always makes it available for us, even in our grief.
Grace in grieving. I'm praying for an extra portion of His Grace in grieving at Easter. I need His Grace in grieving every day.
I don't understand it. I don't know how it comes to me. When I feel like my heart and soul have been torn apart and I simply cannot take another breath, He does His work and opens my lungs for the next breath, the next hug for my crying child, cooking the next meal to nourish my people, the ability to laugh at my little one's joke. Somehow, His grace comes in the grieving.
That grace is there for you, too. It may be quiet, but it will come.
Do you know someone who is grieving a death, a sickness, or some kind of loss right now? I encourage you to reach out to them. It doesn't have to be grand. Even a small gesture to say you are thinking of them, praying for them, or care for them feels huge. Let them know they are not forgotten. Your small act speaks big love.
Are you grieving at Easter? I would love to pray for you. Will you send me a note to let me know how I can pray?