I found this memory from Easter last year that I never shared. I always meant to come back and polish it. I thought that when I came back it would feel less raw and personal. When I look at it from the outside it seems almost silly, that such a universal experience counts as one of the hardest weeks of my life. But here it is, Easter 2019, on Good Friday as we honor the passing of a great grandma and a loving Christ. Pictures from Easter Sunday 2019.
Easter this year looked a little bit different than we planned.
I expected we’d spend it on campus – one of our last holidays with friends that feel like family before everyone heads off to different parts of the country. I was making rolls for our potluck, we’d take pictures out on the lawn in front of the library, and the kids would hunt for eggs around our tiny apartment.
We were excited about our Easter clothes, special musical numbers at church, and the pecan pastry I was making for brunch.
A few days before Easter I got call that my sweet grandmother had tripped on a step and was going to die. She passed away on Good Friday and by Sunday most of her six children had gathered in my childhood home in New Hampshire, in preparation for funeral services held early the next week.
Grief for me feels isolating. Because my pain certainly isn’t necessarily more than anyone else who has lost a grandparent but it is different (or it feels like it should be different).
When I was 11 years old my family moved from Tokyo, Japan to New Hampshire to live with my grandparents. I took piano lessons from Grandma on Monday afternoons. I wandered over to their side of the house for fresh ginger cookies or card games. They joined us for family dinner each Sunday growing up. Grandma cooked for us when Mom went out of town and she was there at volleyball games, recitals, and award ceremonies.
The most special though, has been spending time with my grandparents since having kids. Whenever I came home to visit my parents, my grandparents are there. In their 80s and 90s, they are on the floor playing with my kids. When we lived with them the summer before Ben started business school, Lincoln and Adelaide saw them daily. They run in for fruit snacks and hugs whenever we visit. Grandma (Great-Grandma) taught Lincoln to play UNO and sneaks Adelaide treats.
We were up in New Hampshire for Sunday dinner just a week and a half before the phone call. We didn’t stay to play games afterwards and I so wish we had.
The night of the accident Grandma was hosting an event with 50 guests in her home (my parents home). I thought there would be more time. More game nights. More gingersnaps. I thought she’d snuggle this sweet baby who she affectionately called 107 (because it is the 107th of her descendants).
This post was supposed to be about celebrating Easter and it is quickly turning into something else.
So on Easter Sunday we woke up at my parents and Lincoln and Adelaide hunted for eggs all over the great room. We ate sugar cereal for breakfast before heading off to church. We still wore our pastels because I think Grandma would have wanted that. And then we cried through a good part of the service because it was the congregation she had been in for 50 years. Each sermon and prayer talked about the resurrection of our savior and the faith and goodness of Lois Earnshaw.
Easter is a beautiful time to focus on loved ones reuniting with God. My dad said it so well – the sadness is deep and the pain is real but the joy is not just equal to it, it is immeasurably more. I am grateful to be surrounded by people who share my love, know the pain, and keep choosing the joy.
We came home and I still made rolls for dinner. Lincoln and Adelaide got pen all over their Easter best and had fun playing with cousins all afternoon.
This year Easter looks different again. For altogether different reasons we will be waking up on Easter morning in my childhood home in New Hampshire. But through all the things that change, I am grateful for the things that never do. Love. The eternal nature of families. Kindness. God. My people.