After spending a few days in South Carolina with my parents, I came home on Holy Thursday. Liz picked me up at the airport (THANKS LIZ!!) and the Holy Weekend began. The kids, Vinnie, and I went to NECC for service on Good Friday and then I went to St. Jerome for 14 STEPS with my sisters (Leslie, Lisa, Nancy, and Jen). As usual, I cried when they boys picked up “Jesus” and carried him out singing Long Live God. It was the start of a weekend where I really saw “Easter” from a mother’s point of view.
On Good Friday morning, a 17 year old boy did not wake up – here in Norwalk – passed away in his sleep. Leslie and Liz both know the family. Heartbreaking is the only word I can think of. His mother, Ramona, was constantly on my mind all day and then especially, when the “soldiers” lifted “Jesus” up over their heads at St. Jerome Church during the reenactment of the Living Stations of the Cross, my heart broke for her….so did my floodgates. I have never made it through The 14 Steps production without crying, but tonight was especially hard. The thought of Ramona’s son, his body surrendered to his God, on the same day that we remember the crucifixion, was overwhelming.
My mind flooded to other mothers, my friends, who have lost their young adult child in the past 2 years: Giovanna and her son Andy, Liz and her son Mike, and Marilyn and her daughter Shannon. And now, Ramona and her son Chris. Giovanna, Liz, Marilyn, and Ramona, and so many other women have stood helpless as their own children returned to their Heavenly Father….just as Mary stood, helpless and sad, at the foot of the cross.
My hope is that these women will gain strength from Mary’s example and from the so many other women who have had to walk this journey in a similar way. I can’t even imagine how deep the pain and sorrow is, yet each one of them celebrate the lives of their children, speaking so proudly of them, and are living examples of “true love” for me as I watch them walk their walk of faith.
This Easter, the story of the crucifixion and resurrection seemed a little more real to me as I thought about it through the lens of a Mother.
In the morning of Easter Sunday, Clyna picked me up at 6:45am, we grabbed a cup of tea, and headed to the Sunrise Service at Calf Pasture Beach. I think this was our 15th Easter Service together. Through rain, sleet, freezing cold, and beautiful sunshine, we have stood “at the flagpole” facing the water, listening to the various Evangelical pastors, and the PIVOT Men’s Ministry sing. This year, the sky was beautiful blue and the sun lifted just above the horizon, shining right along the water. The American Flag was waving in the light breeze. The pastor leading the service made note of the Flag representing the wonderful freedoms we all have as Americans and then bridged over to the fact that through Easter (The Resurrection) we are free from this world so that we will have eternal life with God. (He did a much better job on this message than I just did! But…..Trust me though, it was pretty cool!) It dawned on me that in EVERY church I have been to so far, there is an American Flag somewhere inside the church and on this beautiful, brisk April morning at Calf Pasture beach, our flag was proudly flying over the Easter service!
Silently I thanked the American soldiers around the world for all of our freedoms….and silently I prayed for each of their mothers.