Finding symbolism in Easter led me down a pointless rabbit hole, I’m not religious but everyone who surrounds me is and I wanted to write about history and religion and realized all the half facts and weird nuances made my story seem shallow. I wanted to write about something I know and something that matters.
I was privileged enough to spend Easter with 7 families this year. My sister's and her extended family at a pre-Easter gathering as they were away for the holiday. My mother and her partner for a Good Friday celebration and a Sunday lunch with my partner’s extended family. It’s been busy and it’s been wonderful.
Some family members were sorely missed and I realized this time of year holds a lot of heart ache for me as its close to the time my father passed away 24 years ago. I think the reason this year was incredibly special for me was that I felt so honored to spend time with all these wonderful humans and sat and ate at groaning tables. Children ran and played, old people got drunk and cheeky and I could just sit and revel in the glorious situation I was in.
My previous situation with my ex was hard, every time there was a big gathering with his family the food and décor had to be done “just so”. Silverware had to be polished and guests had to be dutifully doted on. It was exhausting. My family was usually catering in between all of this as we would feed the VIP tent at the St. Stithians Easter festival. So besides making food for hundreds of people I would then come home to more cooking and running in circles. Again… It was exhausting.
This year, I had so many customers wishing us well and telling us how good it was to see us take a break and some family time. I was doted on by friends and family, constantly making sure my glass was full and then being driven home by my exceptional partner because I was just too tired to do so. Coffee in bed and cuddling with my furchild was a restorative gift to myself. I really felt looked after and it’s a strange sensation when you’ve had to always be tough and independent.
I was fortunate enough to have my partner's family here from Wales and it was the first time I was meeting them, tensions were high as I had only had bad experiences previously, but I think I got lucky with this one, we all just got along. When you come from a conflict relationship driven background this “amicableness” is very weird. And I have to laugh because trying to explain this to someone as not being your normal is so ridiculous when you think about it. Why shouldn’t family gatherings and events be lovely, and generous and full of laughs? I’ve recently grasped that being welcomed into a new family makes you want to change your narrative and not that many are privileged to do so.
I have a core memory as a child, sadly my memory is shocking so there are very few of them. We were woken up really early on Easter Sunday morning for service and I remember being wrapped up in blankets and coats. Taking our camper chairs to the edge of a misty lake , in the dark noggal, and the minister would start his service on Christ’s resurrection. By the time he got halfway through the service the sun was just starting to rise on the lake, the sunlight capturing our breath and the warmth finally hitting our cold noses as if this was everything we had been waiting for. And in that moment all you could focus on was that exquisite orange bursting over the horizon and how whole it made you feel. The event was euphoric; and I think about this service every Easter. I can’t remember anything the minister said or what happened afterwards, just those first moments of sun breaking through. Like a gift from the universe.
My meaning has come from finding new family, new traditions and cherishing old ones. Moments and pieces that haven’t been forgotten. I will always be grateful to my parents for dragging me to the side of that lake, in the cold and being miserable because the reward was so worth it. All of the heartache and grief I’ve experienced with my father’s loss and the anniversary of his loss will never be as devastating for me because I remember him in those moments they gave me, those remain.