As I read the latest “Voices of the Community” articles from the current Contemplative Outreach e-bulletin, I noticed something I had not seen before . . . one could go back to previous articles. So I did just that . . . going back to one I had written two years ago just after Easter that year (see the article “A Very Different Holy Week.”).
Rereading it brought back many memories of that time in our lives, my husband John‚Äôs and mine. We were forced to have a ‚Äúhome retreat‚Äù with Fr. Thomas‚Äô DVDs, The Gift of Life, Death and Dying, Life and Living, because of John‚Äôs physical limitations that year. This year was another very different Easter . . . one without John who had died over a year ago.
I sat alone through Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday services, and yes, even Easter Sunday mass as members of our large family attended services in their own churches in many locations locally and in other states. It went well; after all, this was the second Easter since John‚Äôs death, and I was doing quite well for the most part. Oh, there were difficult times . . . a sad TV show, a quick memory, a holiday perhaps.
Life had begun anew. I was volunteering at a local hospital, going out more frequently with friends and most exciting of all, traveling again visiting some of our children across the country, which had not been possible for over two years. One of the blessings was being able to resume my practice of making a yearly retreat! Yes, coming up this June is the second year of attending a week‚Äôs retreat at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center in North Palm Beach with dear friends. Life was progressing and for that I was grateful.
Then came Good Friday this year, my second Good Friday since John‚Äôs death. As I rose to kiss the cross, a thought came to me, “John, too, was crucified,” and I became extremely emotional, remembering his two years of having to be fed through a tube in his stomach, his terrible fall in the bathroom, admittance to the hospital, the two broken ribs and torture of a physical therapy attempt before the realization came that there would be no rehabilitation, only Hospice. Six days after that fall, he ascended to God.
Tears were coming down my cheeks as I walked back to my pew. ‚ÄúDid anyone see that? I hope not! I‚Äôm not like this all the time! I really am doing well most of the time! Should I leave? I need a tissue!‚Äù But I made it through the rest of the mass, and instead of going directly home afterwards, I went to the cemetery for a visit and was comforted.
What will next Easter bring? I have no idea. I am just thankful that Centering Prayer has taught me to live in the present moment as much as I possibly can, and so, I will do that as I am able. And, I will be mindful of and pray for dear friends who have also lost spouses recently, knowing that they will be adjusting to their new lives just as I am.