Tag Archives: widow

Holidays x One: Passover/Easter


Passover and Easter have evolved into odd civic holidays that celebrate the rites of Spring, fertility, rebirth, seeds spouting, lambs being born (and eaten), eggs being decorated (and eaten), chicks and bunnies soft and squeaking in baskets, or their chocolate equivalents smearing across tiny faces. Why odd?

Well even though at Christmas the birth of Christ and arrival of Santa Claus have no connection, there’s the giving of a gift that affords it some type of universal credence. But the Easter Bunny has no connection whatsoever to slavery, deliverance, death and resurrection.

Passover commemorates the release of the Jewish slaves from captivity in Egypt. The story is rich with plagues, a secret prince (Moses), murder and miracles, the parting of the Red Sea, the visit of the first-born sons by the angel of death. The key ingredient at the Seder table is unleavened bread representing their hurried departure.
Easter commemorates the betrayal of Jesus Christ, who claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God, his trials, crucifixion, death, burial. Then his resurrection. The key ingredient is the wine and bread representing the spilt blood and pierced flesh of Christ. No chocolate bunnies in sight.

Digging deeper, both celebrations invite us to remember what is gone and to wait for deliverance.

Remembering can be hard for the person who is alone. I lived for years with a busy houseful of children, step-children, “adopted” children and friends of children. It was expansive and fun within those four walls. The phone rang constantly, events, meals, cars coming and going, birthdays, graduations, new jobs, lost jobs. I used to tell them, “If you have a crisis you have about three weeks to milk it because by then another will come along.”

Remembering and re-living that season of my life is a struggle. I look at pictures and sigh. I wonder how all those folks are doing, grown with their own homes, their own families, work and accomplishments. It’s weird to go all day without a phone call, not to be making a costume, a decoration, a huge dinner or even a dessert. I sometimes look up their Facebook pages even if I’m not a friend, just to see their smiles.

Maybe a better way is to remember with joy and be grateful for having that time of life at all. One that many would have given anything to have had. Think back to your favorite Easter memories–was it hiding eggs as a child – or finding them? Was it brand new patent leather shoes at any age? Spring break in college? Surrounding a church pulpit with dozens of lilies? Cutting off a piece of crusty, salty lamb fat and popping it in your mouth with a juicy sliver of meat?

Waiting for change is an even greater challenge, even if it’s not deliverance from bondage or rising from the dead. The change we think will never get here. The check that’s in the mail. The escrow taking forever to close. The vacation that we’ve been putting off year after year. The retirement that we keep pushing back.

Often it’s the waiting that brings about more change than the actual receiving of what you are waiting to happen. Waiting strengthens us, even when it’s hard. But sometimes what comes after is just plain miraculous.

That’s worth remembering.

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Tiptoeing toward the wound

Mike and I 001

I’ve been marking the days for at least a month. Not with a pencil or even a smear on the calendar. Just a silent ticking off of days that I noticed in my heart and quickly covered over with busy work or chocolate or wine.

The pain in my sciatic nerve keeps screaming for attention but doesn’t drown out the slow and steady movement I feel. Tiptoeing toward the wound.

On April 6, my husband will be Two Years dead. It’s coming and I can’t stop it.

Can’t. Stop it.

On April 10 we would have been married 20 years.

Instead of cake there is a wound, covered over with a thin scab, but oozing and throbing all the same.

Instead of flowers,  a candle and an urn.

Year One there was the a cloud of memories to cushion the reality. The arrangements, the photos, the unexpected insistence on wearing a hat to the funeral. The black wardrobe, selling the house, moving.

Moving on.

I barely felt the wound, back then, stunned by loss.

But now, as Year Two counts down like a water drip of torture, I feel the soreness from here. The wound is advanced, sloughing away the scab in an instant as I stop tiptoeing and run to the wound, dive in.

Swallow me, I tell the wound. Cover me. Let me disappear into the hurt.

I feel the warm, thick liquid all around, waiting to sink into the filth of death.

But instead, it’s blood. The stuff of life.

The blood of resurrection.

Because between now and April 6 there is a cross, a tomb, and a divine body that has overcome death.

My husband has been Two Years resurrected with Christ.

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Super Bowl Widow

The big game was a week ago. The Super Bowl, a sacred ritual in the United States of America. It’s a day when folks lose themselves in spectator-ship and bow to the word’s derivative, the spectacle. The glory, the colors, the sounds, and the ever more intimate television cameras catching the sweat, the tears, the groans and the hits.

It’s also a day for Super Bowl widows – women who go shopping, try on jewelry at the mall, check out the new comforters at Target – just enjoying the luxury of looking at your dreams on store shelves and leisurely considering what buying them would be like. What owning lots of pretty things would feel like.

Not too differently than those men at home around the TV, wondering what winning the Super Bowl would be like. Dreaming of being padded and wrapped and  uniformed and prepared to hit and hit hard. And the great big ring to grab for. Wear on your finger proudly, the way young girls flash their engagement rings and can’t get enough of the sparkle. The way I did that too.

For me, being a Super Bowl widow meant something else.  It happens on Super Bowl Sunday and the day after that and the day after that and the day after that. My husband is not at home watching the game. He gets to watch the real game being played out at the feet of Jesus. The ins and outs and defensive hits and offensive attacks and the cheers and the tears that happen on earth. Talk about spectacle. In the end, both teams win and Beyonce leads a choir and everyone dances with joy.

I wanted to go to a party and I figured that some of my friends were having them. But I didn’t have the nerve to ask them, “Can I come over?” Who wants a widow around? Especially on a joyous day like Super Bowl Sunday?

But I get to cheer, too. I get to dream dreams. I have to keep living and I like to watch the fight and the grandeur and the striving and the cheering. Watch it with others. But I didn’t have the nerve.

So I popped my popcorn and propped myself up on the couch and watched it alone. The Super Bowl widow caught up in the spectacle, and stuck being a spectator while others make memories with their friends.

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