I look out my window today, and I see grey sky, but I know that it is warming up out there, finally. I also see people walking by, kids on roller skates and bicycles. I think the Easter Bunny – declared an essential service this year – brought a few outdoor toys, like those skates and bicycles. I assure you all were keeping safe social distance as they passed by.
Easter was different this year. The day passed quietly. Slowly even. Normally, it is filled with 2 worship services, followed by rushing in to Calgary for dinner with the extended family. This year, Corona Virus changed that. So did missing mom. As a pastor, I tell people how all those “first events” following the loss of a loved one are hard. As a daughter, now I know that to be true, even more so than ever before.
Normally, sometime in the week prior to Easter, mom would have gathered with the great grand daughters to participate in egg decorating. And participate she would, she wasn’t one to just watch on the sidelines when it came to anything creative like that.
Last year, my family gathered with her and dad and shared a beautiful meal at the seniors’ residence where they were living. Dad is still there. No beautiful dinner with family there this year. The residents are all eating in there rooms, alone.
Dad still misses mom deeply, and these extended periods of being alone have been so hard on him. Sure, there are people checking in every hour; and meals being brought to him. But for the most part, he is alone. Not something he’s good at. Amd with his dementia, understanding of why we can’t visit is limited, at best.
Our daughter also spent the holiday alone, as did my sister. However, they have technical skills, and we spent an hour with our daughter on “FaceTime” before dinner, and as much time with my sister after dinner. It was good to see their faces, safely located in their homes. Not the same. But good.
My other siblings are safely in their own spaces, too. None of them alone – each with at least one family member, like us. However each missing at least one person who normally would have been at their holiday dinner table, too.
I find in these days, when one would think you could get all kinds of things done, that my progress is slow. I am reminded by a colleague that we – our whole society – is in a collective state of grief. We all can name things that is time of social isolation has caused us to loose. Some of those things may be returned to us, some may not. Even if they are, we are at a loss to know when that may be.
I know that what helps me in times of loss is connection with other people. And so I reach out – figuratively speaking. I am staying as connected as I can with ZOOM group meetings, and FaceTime calls, and even good old, simple telephone calls. I am seeking moments of joy in those connections, and looking for the resurrection stories in all that is happening in our world.
I am finding those stories in the smiles (at a distance) of those I encounter when I must go out for groceries, etc. I found resurrection yesterday, in the sound of the geese flying overhead, coming back from points south, to nest and bring new life to our world.
I am finding those stories as I listen to music performances on line, recorded in living rooms, on cathedral steps, or shared on social media platforms. Music, they say it soothes the soul, and these days that is so true. I am finding moments of the presence of the Spirit in those ZOOM meetings, and in listening to friends and colleagues, as I learn from them how we can walk together through these days.
All those stories, the music, the smiles, the geese, remind me that we are not alone, that the Spirit is indeed with us in these days. Thanks be.
Blessings of the Easter season, dear readers.