Easter this year was very different than in years past. That’s to be expected when you lose a piece of your heart. There were some beautiful moments and some filled with deep grief. Jerry, Jonathan and I held no expectations other that to “survive” it all and we did.
We attended the services for the Triduum as we have in past years. For the first time in four years, there were no emergency room visits and no seizures during Mass. It was strange and wonderful all at the same time. To sing the “Gloria” again on Holy Thursday was a high point. I wept as the bells rang out. My Courtney loved the bells at Mass, always smiling when she heard them.
I can only imagine what those bells and choirs of heavenly angels sound like to her now. One day I pray I will hear them with her by my side.
Jerry and I were open with our grief throughout these days. Jonathan as well. It’s not like we could hide it. When the heartache comes, it comes. In public, in private, the pace or time does not matter. I am learning to embrace the moment and be in it. It was the same when Courtney was alive. One day at a time, honoring the moment and embracing the pain or the joy, whichever came.
Good Friday arrived with it’s own share of grief both for Our Lord and for my baby girl. Once more in my heart I acknowledged that the glory of the Resurrection cannot be without the suffering of the Cross. Kissing the feet of Jesus on the cross that day, I imagined kissing the feet of my daughter who had walked the path God laid before her with such dignity and grace.
Looking at Jesus’s emaciated body, ribs poking through taught skin I was transported back to Courtney’s final days, with her clinging to life one breath at a time, her own ribs sticking out through taught skin as she walked her own Calvary. It was a difficult day but one I will never forget.
Easter Vigil brought the blessings of the baskets. What a joy to take part in this tradition once again. Last year I had started embroidering a Pascha Cloth for my friend Christine. I spent many hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament stitching and praying for her as I made this gift. I finished late Holy Thursday night of this year, just in time.
I think it turned out rather well. The lace was a bit tricky but in the end, perfection was not the goal. A gift filled with meaning was.
Father B blessed oil, salt, butter, meats, candles, etc. There is even a special blessing for bacon and beer. Jerry was very, very happy.
After the basket blessing in the morning, it was time to head home and make the German Donuts that are an Easter tradition around these parts dating back several generations in my mothers family.
I mean who can resist deep fried dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Here is the recipe. I make it only once a year on Holy Saturday. It is quite the treat.
Once they are done we color eggs. We have done these two things on Holy Saturday as long as I can remember. They bring such happiness to my guys and to me.
Traditions are a beautiful thing.
Taking a selfie with a few of your nieces and nephews while waiting for Easter dinner to be served and while wearing a Dalmatian doggy cap…now that’s funny.
We went to the Easter sunrise service this year, which is held at the Historic Church. Our Courtney is buried on the church grounds so it seemed fitting to spend our first Easter morning without her here as close as we could be to her.
We brought white tea roses to her grave after Mass and sat with her a bit. These flowers will forever remind me of my sweet Courtney’s purity and innocence in this world. Such beauty and strength in each bloom as they open little by little to the light. Just like my daughter opened our eyes, little by little, to the unconditional love of God.
We spent the rest of the day with family and it was a very good thing. We even decided to take a few family photos which depending on the day, can be hard for me. I am glad though, to have them now. Me, my guys and my Mama. A strong lot we are, not because we want to be, but because we are called to be.
One day at a time…