It is Easter Sunday. Jesus has risen from the dead and humanity is filled with hope and excitement and awe and disbelief. A man once buried has awoken from death and is alive again. Most Easters are filled with joy and peace for me. An unfulfilled promise coming to fruition. A reward for the sacrifices made in the weeks of anticipation leading to this morning. Everything is a little bit clearer. The sun is brighter and hope is renewed in a way it hasn’t been in a long time.
But, do you know who is not rising from the grave? My dad. His body still sits. Encased in a wooden box. Fake puttied skin plastered to his decaying flesh. Inside a concrete vault and then buried with too many pounds of dirt to think about. And little sprouts of grass on top of his grave that seem almost disrespectful. The little flecks of green do nothing to pay homage to the patriarch sleeping below the feet of the tiny emerald blades.
So today, the world isn’t quite as shiny and new and hopeful. Today is another day without my dad. No one told me it was going to be like this and I guess it is kind of odd that I didn’t anticipate it. But today was hard. The first holiday without my dad. Well technically the second. But the first was New Year’s which occurred two short days after he died. That holiday we were pretty much in shock and had so many tasks to keep us busy I honestly don’t even remember if I knew it was New Years. But today was different. Today I felt like someone punched me in the guts. Today I felt like I did not even have the power to breathe. Today I felt anxious and unsure and the concrete brick in my stomach did nothing to chase away the negative emotions. Food tasted blander. The colors had momentarily faded from the world.
Nobody told me it was going to be like this. That I would spend part of one of my favorite holidays trying to chase away bad feelings and wishing that this giant hole in my chest would stop growing any bigger. The the first real holiday without dad would feel less like a holiday and more like a recreation of his funeal. No, there will be no moving of rocks today. No stone to roll away from the grave. Just a daughter feeling a little bit lost and confused. And eyes hurting from running out of tears.
It’s not like Easter was even a big thing for him. He only became catholic at the very end of his life and Easter didn’t have the special meaning for him as it did for me. But I am sure he would have enjoyed watching the kids find Easter eggs and just being kids. But he wasn’t there and that didn’t happen.
I didn’t know it was going to hurt like this. I didn’t think I was capable of hurting like this. I just wish you would come home. That we could have one more Easter dinner before the cancer took away your ability to eat because of the painful mouth sores, or socialize because of the embarrassing bag attached at your waist or as the disease progressed and tumors filled more of your belly than did organs your and stole away your appetite. I wish you were here eating ham. Not being fed through a tube shoved into you through a large IV line situated just near your heart.
But that wasn’t helpful. The IV nutrition was the only thinking keeping you alive. I didn’t think you would have wanted that. But I am not the boss and I can’t make those decisions.
Anyway, I wish I had known it would feel like this, the first holiday without you. I wish I had known my heart would be ripped out of my body and stomped on. I just wish I had known.