Last year, and every year before it, my family celebrated Easter at my mother’s house. It was the big party she threw each year, the holiday she hosted, and one I looked forward to simply for that reason. When I was young, we would first hunt for our baskets, then go to church, then rush home to get the food ready for the rest of the family when they arrived. We would eat breakfast together and everyone would wear their Easter clothes, and sometimes it would be nice enough to go outside.
Time moved on. Mom still held on to that Easter basket hunt, but church was no longer part of the equation, once Ka passed. I wasn’t much of a believer in Catholicism anymore, and my mother had her own personal reasons for having trouble going to Mass, so it sort of fell out of the day. But brunch prevailed. Still, the family would gather at our house and eat eggs and sausage and laugh and drink and generally be merry.
But this year.
I started to feel crappy about the situation on Friday (more to come on that front, Thursday.) I knew I wouldn’t see my grandma, and that is hard. Since Poppa passed last month, I have been thinking about her daily and wanting to see her, but I stay home because Mark is still out there working and I don’t want to risk anything. The only people I really see are Mark, my parents, sister, and the kids. And even being around my parents, I am nervous.
However, my cousin Dominic, who is a musician, was having his first ever live Facebook show from his mothers’ basement to raise money for local businesses affected by Coronavirus. I tuned in to find half of my family watching along with me…including my grandma. It made me feel like we were connected for a moment. Dom is a great guitar player and singer, and it was fun spending Friday night in my bedroom jamming out to his tunes. I found a new song I like. Another one inspired a poem. I have said before how I love seeing all the art that is being created in this terrible time…my cousins’ contribution to that made me so happy. For a little while, it felt like there was no quarantine, and that we were all at the bar enjoying one of his shows.
On Saturday, the kids were here. Usually, my mother would organize an egg hunt and make them baskets, but this year that was a no-go on several accounts, one being that I was in the GD hospital AGAIN…but that’s beside the point. My mother also wasn’t feeling great and no one wants to risk anything with the kiddos of course, so instead she and dad drove by and wished them a Happy Easter and dropped off a basket full of plastic Easter eggs filled with candy and money. The kids were delighted, of course.
And then came Sunday. We lounged around. There was no panic. No church for us or anyone, of course, though I could watch it on TV if I wanted to. Mom came around and we went to grab coffee, then I wrote for a while before taking a shower and heading over to her house for brunch.
She did not hide baskets, because she did not make baskets, for the first time ever. She did get us each a bag of sponge candy and some other treats, but just left them at our place settings. As for the meal, it was just us-Mom, Dad, Mark, Bernie, and myself. There was lots of food. We ate, we drank, we laughed and were merry. But I missed everyone else.
When I came home and realized Easter was done now, it was a letdown. I thought about how each of my aunts and uncles and cousins Easter’s must be-they have been going to my mom’s house for years and years. This is the first many of them have had in their own homes. I thought of my Gram, who I love and miss so much right now, and have never known an Easter without.
I started telling Bernie about Dom’s concert on Friday, though, and it made me smile to remember that for a second, a bunch of those people I had been missing were in the same place, even if we weren’t in the same place. I think that during this horror story we call life right now, that’s the best thing we can hope for-connection with the people we love, no matter how.