Easter is a time of religious reflection, time with family, bunnies, candy in baskets, easter egg hunts, and many other traditions. If I could pick one candy that describes Easter for me, it would be that new little pretzel M&M. Sweet and good as M&Ms are, but a little bit salty too.
In early 2011, January to be exact, I was on a beautiful run on a surprisingly warm day in sunny San Francisco. I ran up the most giant hills I’d ever run, along the water, through a big park whose name I can’t remember now, by Fisherman’s Wharf, and with perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge. On the first half of my run, I found a nice little cafe that served breakfast. So on my run back to the hotel, I stopped there and grabbed a table outside, ordered some coffee and steel cut oats.
Not long after my food arrived, I got a call from a number that I didn’t recognize, but it was a Georgia number and immediately, I knew who it was and knew something was wrong. Without going into intimate details, I’ll say that for a few years, my dad and I had been out of touch. It was sad and unfortunate. He had moved to Georgia, and that’s how I was just certain it was him calling. And my belly was telling me that it wasn’t something good. I was right. On that bright sunny morning, I found out that my dad had esophageal cancer. My run back to the hotel was a hard one. Uphill all the way, physically and emotionally.
When I returned home, I found out that my dad was stage 4 and they weren’t giving him a very long time to live. It’s hard to explain the feeling you get when you’re told someone you love will soon no longer be in this world. I’m not sure what would be worse, a sudden loss that you weren’t expecting, or knowing death is lurking right around the corner. Maybe neither, maybe they are equally terrible. But I can remember exactly where I was, what I was doing and seeing and feeling when I found out there was nothing left to do.
On goes the story…I went down to Georgia right away and stayed there for the better part of 3 months. I was truly blessed with this time. My dad and I were able to get to know each other again, find a happiness we hadn’t had in a very long time, and just enjoy the time we had left. We laughed, more like he made me laugh, like he made everyone laugh. We cried. I could write a hundred blog posts just about the things he did and said during that time, but that’s not what this one is about today.
Easter was late that year, the end of April. I had to travel to NYC for the week because of work. I had just finished a training session and was walking through a quaint area of the city when i got the call that I needed to hurry back. That was good Friday. The story of my adventure to get to JFK is another blog post, but luckily I made it to the airport and made it to Vidalia, GA, where my dad was in hospice. He wasn’t able to speak anymore. But he opened his eyes when I got there, and I’m certain he knew I was there. He hung on until Sunday morning, Easter Sunday, April 24, and the day before my birthday.
As it turns out, as my dad was going up to Heaven, my baby boy was on his way down. I believe they met each other in the middle. A few short weeks later, I found out that I was going to be a mommy. I didn’t know yet that the baby would be a boy, but I knew he’d be wonderful and change my life in the best ways possible.
This year will be our second Easter together. He has made, what could have been a very sad holiday, a holiday for me to be so very grateful for the blessings that I have been given. Instead of being sad, I thank my dad each year for the role he played in bringing my little man to me. Somehow he knew exactly what I would need.
Tomorrow we will attempt church. But church with a one year old who is the busiest bee on the planet, proves to be quite the difficult task. Then hopefully we will be able to find a yummy Annapolis restaurant that can squeeze us in for brunch. It’s my new Easter tradition with Logan and his Grammy.
Wishing you all a lovely Easter holiday!