As I get older, my appreciation for some holidays has grown. Easter is a great example. When I was a little girl, I was excited to open my basket, and some years, go to church afterwards. We always got a chocolate bunny, the obligatory jellybean layer and a handful of various treats. Tucked in the middle was a toy, maybe a Barbie or stuffed animal. I remember the year I got my first cross. It meant I was mature enough to handle a real piece of jewelry from Sears - a big deal.
It was always sort of a surreal holiday, too. You spent Friday talking about how Christ was tortured and died for your sins and were then supposed to be overjoyed on Sunday when he arose from the dead. It's kind of a complex set of ideas for a child to get in the matter of a couple of days. To simplify it, my mother used to focus on the idea that because of His death and resurrection, the four of us would always be together. This idea expanded one year after she read an essay of a man who had had a near-death experience. He described waking up in heaven and being surrounded by all the dogs and horses he had known in his life. Mom and I joked that we'd open our eyes to see a circle of cats, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, a couple lizards and a turtle.
Now as a theoretical grown-up, Easter has become particularly polarizing as more people in my life die. It's like a talisman - I'll see you again one day. But it's really all about her. I've lined the wall of our staircase with pictures of family and friends. I've put her in spots that naturally fall into my field of vision, so it never surprises my system like finding her handwriting does. So distinctive and unique to her, seeing her words in an unexpected place is almost like hearing her again. I freeze in place.
Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate this blessed weekend. I'll see you soon, Mom.