Easter and Cusp of Spring: Holidays are Impossible Really
Cusp of Spring
Here the day promises to be beautiful. It is only 45 degrees now, but by this afternoon, it will be 71 degrees. Skies will be gray today, but you can feel the cusp of spring. The sun, through slated gray skies, breaks through—beckoning life from a ground, earth, soil, trees, and flowers, laid dormant by winter.
Year 3. This is my third Easter without Dylan. To those of you moving through this holiday for the first or even second time, know that you are in my heart. Holidays are impossible really.
For so many years, Easter was my favorite holiday. I belong to a faith that promises hope with this day, but I also love that this day promises new life everywhere. I love seeing crocus and daffodils and hyacinths in all their colors poke up from the ground. I love seeing Robins poised to grab their meal from a newly thawed ground, and I love hearing the chirping of the song birds.
This year, a single mourning dove echoes her coo, coo coo, outside my bedroom window. And this year, we had a warm winter, so even though it’s still early spring, so much of our grass is already a deep, rich green.
How to Cope? Stay Busy
This is the first time since Dylan died (June 25, 2012) that I’ve been able to pull myself together enough to present myself as the professional I am. I am a teacher, but can no longer teach—it’s just too painful, both emotionally and physically. As we all so well now know, carrying on, keeping on keeping on, is so much about re-inventing.
College campuses are my home away from home, and I always loved teaching kids coming of age through years where the search for identity is strongest. I teach English, composition mostly—all levels, but also American and British lit, and I’ve always loved teaching. To me, it never even seemed like I was working, merely sharing a passion and encouraging young adults to find their voice.
How sad to think I failed at this with my own son, my only child, the pride and joy and sun and my heart’s song. I hate when I move through my grief passages where guilt surfaces, where hindsight seems 20/20, where could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve conjure themselves as the be-all, end-all of an absolutely fallacious reasoning on my part that I somehow have power enough to control another person’s life.
But just because Dylan was my son didn’t make him immune to the darkness of illness, the struggle of rising above a depression that pulled him under, time and time again.
Remembering the Joy
So I am at this weird, crazy juxtaposition where I know better than to go there, where logic defies my own suffering and mother lode of guilt, but still, in this infancy of a lifetime of dealing with losing my son to suicide, I do go.
I laid awake in bed last night trying to conjure up beautiful memories and images from Easters past. Egg hunts, coloring Easter eggs, special candies and treats from a local chocolatier, Easter dinners at Grandma’s—ham, sweet potatoes, pickled eggs and beets (which Dylan hated and found disgusting!), asparagus, and silly jokes tucked into plastic eggs at each of our plates.
Hope–this time of year has always been about hope for me. I have a white cat who distinctly resembles a white bunny, and I try to smile about this, but I am having such a hard time today. I can’t find my smile. I didn’t go to church (I find family things impossible). I am due at Mom’s this afternoon for the same old, same old Easter dinner with the same old, same old china and cloth napkins and jokes in plastic Easter eggs, but nothing (and I want to scream this) nothing is the same!
I am beyond folks acknowledging Dylan now. It has been 3 years, 9 months, and there is a deafening silence. I find this a second kind of death, and perhaps that is part of my heavy grieving this year as well—I just have nowhere to take my grief, no one who will just hold me, hug me, love me and remember Dylan.
And I know that this too shall pass, that this day shall pass, that the heaviness of this load will shift enough that I can sort of, kind of, almost have a day-to-day life.Beth, Dylan’s Mom, My Forever Son
But just for right now, I feel the joke’s on me. I am no longer the solid chocolate Easter rabbit, rich and decadent and sure to bring a smile. Now I am a hollow chocolate rabbit, my center missing, my outsides fragile, my insides missing the very stuff of life.
I miss my son, I miss my son, I miss my son. . .Dear God, I miss my son. We are here only for a blip in time. This is what I use to console myself, that none of us knows when our end will be. I try to believe the truism that none of us gets a free pass from death. I try to believe that dying is part of living.
Hold on to Hope
But how ironic that the pain that made my son end his life should so become the insidious pain I must now live out for the rest of my days here.
Sigh. . .oh well, I’ve learned that distraction helps, and so off to get ready I go. And getting outside into this sunshine and warm weather will help. Spending only a little bit of time at Mom’s will help–the old, go late and leave early, and I don’t really care if anybody understands this or not. Reading or streaming a movie will help. Writing helps. My online support group, Parents of Suicides helps. My cat, Lily, helps. If my heart can bear it, playing music will help. Maybe I just need to let my insides outside. I fight letting the tears come, still, I think, in fear that they might never end.
I have come so far, but still my heart knows such sadness. Holidays are hard. Telling our stories help. Those who really get us are those, sadly, most like us–other bereaved parents. We harbor a pain so deep most of the world can’t even fathom such pain.
Just for Today
Just for today I can be grateful June 25th, Dylan’s memorial date, is not here yet, that it is still yet March, that life is one day, one hour, one minute, and sometimes, just one breath at a time. I miss my son–