I saw on Facebook where people were going to be with their families for Easter and it hit me that we don't gather in the spring anymore. Most of the time we would travel to my dad's house, dresses, white socks and shoes bought at Hecht's for the occasion packed in girly suitcases, Easter basket contents either hidden away in the back of the car or purchased with my sisters once we got to Greensboro. We dyed eggs on my dad's kitchen table and the kids hunted for the plastic ones in his back yard.
We would go to one of the churches we went to when I was young, one that my grandmother still attended, or the new-ish church that we joined when I was an adolescent. It was a reunion of sorts, those visits back to the churches, seeing the people my dad's age getting older, their children with children just like mine.
Then we would go back to my dad's house where he had fixed a wonderful lunch. Other relatives might join us, just as they did at his house at Christmas.
This is the first year I've felt this way and I know that it's part of the grieving process. The part where every day gets easier but the holidays are concentrated sadness. I'm grieving not just my dad's death of almost three years ago, but also the loss of this family tradition that he orchestrated. I'm grieving the fact that my daughters are grown and that our time together is now limited to the Christmas holiday and a couple of visits home and to their towns at other times of the year.
I need to start a new tradition for Easter. But this weekend I'll remember the old ones. It's all part of the healing.