We sat in complete darkness listening to the Old Testament readings, one after another revealing the prophecy of the Messiah. My husband stood, flashlight in hand, and walked up to the ambo to speak of Moses and the Pharaoh, the chariots and the charioteers. It is his favorite reading in the Old Testament and he read it at every Easter Vigil Mass for the past several years without exception.
All dressed in our Easter finery, I held Jerry’s hand as I thought of all those years preceding. As my mind wandered in the dark, I thought of the many traditions our little family had created surrounding this most holy of days: The egg dyeing on Good Friday, the Food Basket Blessing on Holy Saturday, followed by the making of my Grandmother Stuecken’s German donuts, all ready for the next morning. There was the sewing of fancy dresses and Easter bonnets for our daughter, Courtney, and the search for the most handsome suit we could afford for our son, Jonathan. There was also the hiding of the chocolate bunnies so a certain son with a wicked sweet tooth would not find them before the Easter Bunny arrived.
A tear slipped down my face as the readings continued and the memories rolled through my mind’s eye. In that moment, I was so grateful for the dark, for it mirrored my heart. There would be no Easter Bunny this year. There were no new clothes. There were no donuts waiting for the next morning. Nothing was the same in that moment, because our lives were not the same.
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