Spring and the Easter season is upon us yet again. And with the signs of spring that are ever present as we emerge from the winter months - also comes memories. Memories that settle in - become a constant presence in my mind, and fill my heart with a heavy spirit.
I used to love spring. Seeing neighborhoods bursting with color, the longer, warmer days, the beautiful tulip display at a local Methodist church. Preparing for the Easter season in our hearts and home, following Lenten meditations, decorating with bunnies, baskets, and eggs ('cause you all know I love to decorate). Planning egg hunts for the kids, special outfits for Easter Sunday, special menus and decadent desserts for our Easter meal.
And I still love doing and participating in those activities.
But along with the Easter fun also comes memories. Memories of that fateful Easter weekend three years ago. When life turned upside-down. And never was the same again.
I hate that some holidays are linked to a 'series of unfortunate events.' I hate that the warm, bright, Holy season of Easter and Spring conjures up dark and forbidding thoughts.
I suppose a lot of that has to do with the fact that I've still not come to terms with my mom's - I don't even know what to call it - stroke? Aneurysm? Severe brain bleed? Call it what you want - the event that ripped her away from me - with no warning, no preparation, no signal - just came into our lives and pulled her and her light away - leaving behind a shadow of the woman I knew.
And the sad truth is, I don't know how to come to terms with it. I think back to the events leading up to that 14 hour surgery, the trauma that happened in the weeks following, and it all feels like a foggy horrible nightmare from a really bad B-grade film.
But it's not a film. Those memories are real. And while they are foggy and unclear at times, I know all of that horrible stuff really happened.
Because of the way things are now.
And, I suppose, it's because I've lived through it - that I've changed. Good or bad, I've come to realize when you live through something so absolutely vile, it changes you. Forever. And you can't change back.
I miss my mom so much - it hurts. I mean it really, physically hurts. She's my best friend. She knows every story, every joy, every sorrow, every scar, every wound. She's the one I've turned to - for everything.
And I can't believe it's been three years. Three years. Three years since I've seen her stand up. Walk. Heard her voice. Carried on a conversation - just the two of us. Felt her warm embrace.
It seems like it was just yesterday that she was here in our home - helping take care of Anna and I after James' birth. On so many levels it feels like time stopped.
But then I look at James. At his three year old wild and silly self. At Anna. At her five year old sassy and artistic self. And at sweet Jack - the baby she's never been able to hold or kiss or rock to sleep.
And my heart aches.
And my eyes well up with tears. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of tears one can cry. I mean, really, how one body can generate so many tears is beyond me.
So I look around at the flowers beginning to bloom, and the redbud tree starting to flower just outside my kitchen window - and my thoughts automatically drift back to that time three years ago, when the bottom fell out.
It's hard to face the Spring.