Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | April 9, 2012

Easter smackdown

Third April.
I had not expected this. I rarely cry these days, and am not crying now. Today, a solitary gray Easter Sunday, instead of tears there is inside me a vast wasteland, a bereft, echoing emptiness that makes the drama and trauma of cleansing tears and gasping sobs seem like a nostalgic luxury.
Jeff is still gone, and he is still not coming back, not ever. Somehow not used to this concept yet, after all this time, all this resolute building of a new life without him. And although our child, the girl with his eyes and hands and smile, is grown now, the fabric of her life  still has and always will have the gaping rift of No Father. Emptiness. Sadness. This hurts. A lot. And frankly I am just so tired of hurting.
I guess where this latest pity party came from is that I was going to make a little Easter basket for my College Girl. Was going to fill it with chocolate eggs and brightly colored silly doodads and a few useful things she meant to bring back to school that got left behind. My little plan was to put it all in a pretty basket and mail it so she’d get it at school on Good Friday. Then this week turned busy with much new work and somehow it slipped my mind, or maybe it’s just that I thought somehow I had more time.  (That old refrain – you’d think that is one lesson I would’ve learned already, but apparently not, since here it is again.)
Suddenly on Friday I realized I had missed a rare chance to be a mama to my big girl. I don’t get to do that much these days. I blew it. And that made me so sad, far sadder than one would think necessary from such a small oversight that no one even knew of but me.
Then on Saturday, I casually put a cd into the car stereo, of old familiar music that I love, that in no way reminds me of Jeff. In fact, the songs remind me of someone else entirely, from another whole lifetime ago. Safe, right? But suddenly that day I was stricken by the remembrance of us two, husband & wife shopping for gifts his last healthy Christmas, choosing that cd for our girl. That memory hit me with no warning, at a traffic light in the car on the way to work, and whooosh, another massive flush of sinking spirits and inordinate sadness. And what am I supposed to do with this information, this bright new blossom of sadness? It is not helpful in any way. It just hurts. And I am Tired Of Hurting.
I know there’s more to it: silly minor personal stuff having to do with not meeting my own unreasonably high expectations. I’ve done enough work to figure out where this pain is coming from, and it’s not nowhere. But for once this self-knowledge is no consolation.
I guess also, I have been so happy of late with my new unexpected sweetheart and our laughter, tenderness, word games. Feeling so lucky in this new love has suddenly thrown my residual sadness, always there just beneath the surface, into stark contrast. I know the only option is to feel or not feel these emotions, and I’ll always choose feeling over numbness, but….
People are talking, writing, about the holy lessons of Easter: mystery and love, acceptance and sacrifice, renewal, and what it all means. And for once it is just not working for me.  That is all. I am just full of Sad.
This too shall pass, they say.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.






  1. that is one of the best ednas yet. Maybe even The best.


  2. I love that poem. Love it. Thank you. I have not lost a loved one so close, but I am greiving for things, so this post resonates.


    • grief is grief, my lovely.

      I never used to like that poem: language too hard-edged, or something. But that was Before.

      But now I need to read it every day, as all around me little red leaves open stickily.


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