Sunday, March 31, 2013

Grief: The Hours Between Good Friday & Easter Sunrise

Part of the journey once you have lost a loved one is the marking of time. I have found it to be both painful and hopeful. Tomorrow will be my second Easter without Joe. Last year, I attempted to write a blog post on Easter and I got as far as this:

Domani and I woke before the sun came up and headed over to Lake Carnegie in Princeton for an Easter sunrise service. It was truly special to be able to cuddle with my son and watch the darkness of night turn to the warm bright sun of the day.

Some of the times I am most alone is when I am surrounded by other people. It especially broke my heart to see happy families today. Each time was a new reminder of the missing link in my own family.

I never finished it and I never published it, but I titled it (Un)Happy Easter. I've been staring at it in my feed as an unfinished post ever since. 

I do remember there being something overpowering about Holy Week and the Easter narrative as I grieved the loss of my husband last year. That has only become more clear for me as I've walked through this season of Lent and especially the last few days. There is no mistaking the clear role of grief in the Easter story and the hope that replaces it on Easter morning. It is what I was describing at the sunrise service by the lake from last year.
I realize now that I experience the darkness and brokenness of Good Friday in a different way than I did 2 years ago. Last night I attended a stations of the cross that was unlike any I had encountered before (I plan to blog separately about it eventually). It connected with me in the midst of my loneliness - no small task since naming my loneliness when it surfaces is a challenge for me. I realized that the second part of my post from last year was really a statement of my loneliness and I know now that I'm particularly vulnerable to this during holiday times.

In the dark hours between Good Friday and Easter sunrise there was a lot of loneliness, perhaps even in the company of others. There was a lot of despair. And I'm sure there was a good dose of zombie-like "what the heck do we do now?" Those are all very familiar to me.

There was death and there was loss and the routine that came with it. Tending to the burial site. Sharing memories. Sharing tears. 

I know what the hours between Good Friday and Easter sunrise feel like.

They feel like the desperate early morning call to the hospice nurse when she tells you that the time has come for around the clock care.

They feel like the mind-numbing moment of that last breath when your heart tells your head that his body has no life left.

They feel like Sunday evening when you would normally be cuddled up on the couch with him eating a bowl of ice cream and planning out your week, but instead you're not.

They feel like your 2 year old looking up into your eyes, taking your cheeks in his chubby little hands, and whispering "I miss Daddy".

They feel dark and FULL.

But thankfully, they are not the end.

Until the sunrise...

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