Easter is all about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, his death, and his resurrection. It seems like I’ve heard the story hundreds of times. I know I am supposed to feel thankful. Supposed to. There are those words again. When you are grieving it seems like you do everything the opposite of what you are “supposed to” do. Easter was no exception for me.
Last year was my first Easter without Steve. Yes, I put on a brave face. Yes, I did the Easter egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and most importantly, we attended church. I’m being honest here…I wasn’t happy. I was mad. I was angry. Most of all, I was jealous. Yes, jealous. Why couldn’t Steve rise from the dead? Why couldn’t I have him back? He was truly an angel on this Earth – a person that lived his life for others. Why did he have to die when so many other people get to live?
I tried to listen to the words of the Easter story. What I heard was a different story than previous years. Loss and grief change everything – even stories you have heard hundreds of times. As the tears started to flow in church I knew I couldn’t take any more. I did what I have done so many times – block out my surroundings, retreat into myself, and do everything possible to change my thoughts to avoid a complete breakdown in public. What people see on the outside looks “normal”. Those that truly look can probably see the complete lack of emotion in my eyes or the struggle to contain the tears. This was my Easter last year.
I’ve had a lot of opportunities this past year to reflect on Jesus rising from the dead. I feel like I have come full circle. The Easter story has come to mind numerous times throughout this year. It bothered me to be jealous of Jesus – how could I have that in my heart?? I’ve taken the time to reflect.
This year, I am thankful. A small piece of me is still jealous at the thought of resurrection – but Jesus didn’t just rise and return to Earth. No. He returned and then ascended into Heaven so we may all have eternal life. Without Easter, there would be no heaven for Steve. He couldn’t watch over us – and I know he does. I still get signs that he is there and I will tell you I am a much better person because of it. The decisions I make align with the life we had, the lessons he taught me, and the type of person he was. Steve truly lived his life. He is with us every single day.
I believe in Heaven. I believe I will see Steve again. And, I am thankful for the events in the Easter story. I’m thankful our Lord gave his son so we may all have everlasting life.
1 Corinthians 15:14-20 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised... Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…reference
The holidays are never easy for people who live with loss. I was surprised at my feelings last year – and I am also equally surprised at how my thinking has come full circle. I’m surprised how much I thought about it – without prompting, without picking up a bible, and without focusing on making a change within myself. This was clearly something that existed in my heart – and when I allowed myself to listen to my heart, I already knew the truth. When I attend Easter service this weekend I will be attending with thanks, love, and gratefulness in my heart.
I hope sharing this story helps someone else feel just a little more “normal” – no matter where you fall on the emotional spectrum during this time.
What is the most challenging holiday for you?