I miss the Easter egg hunts with the boys but most of all I miss my grandparents. Easter was the one time I would usually shop with my Grandma Almekinder. Picking out that Easter dress and the anticipation of wearing it to church. My church then and now is the Walworth Methodist church with the Almekinders but what I really loved was dinner after church. My parents, both sets of grandparents and my Aunt Gloria and Uncle Bill were all there.
I remember eating my Grandpa Lewis’s asparagus because he hated it but we couldn’t tell Mom or Grandma. I remember how much my paternal grandfather Stanley and maternal grandmother Mary liked each other and joked. My grandmother Leona thought my maternal grandfather Morey was a hoot and they often sat together. It was a big table full of prayer and thankfulness and laughter. Aunt Gloria had the best laugh and the most beautiful smile!
What I did not know at the time was why Aunt Gloria was always with us and not her children. I found out later that she was a survivor of horrific domestic abuse and in an attempt to save herself, left her 5 children with their Dad. She knew he would not hurt them. He was a good father. Something she always said about him but the pain both physical and emotional he caused her was something even a happy Easter only removes for a few hours. I know that every single day she questioned her decision to leave her children behind but whenever she started to talk about why she left, she was reminded that she truly feared for her life and had to choose what was better for her children to witness. Her death at the hands of their father or her walking away. She paid for that decision the rest of her life and as most abusers do, he told the children terrible lies about her.
My life has changed drastically due to domestic abuse. Most for the better but some not so much. I now work on Easter unable to fill my cup with Church as I would like but I have learned to fill my own cup with God’s help. I no longer have dinners because of my work schedule. I don’t have that luxury.
But every day I wake up thankful for my children, my experiences, the family I have and those that have passed. I wake up knowing that God has my back and I feel so blessed to have supportive friends and a man in my life that has all the characteristics in a man that I have always searched for.
I know that no matter what hell I was put through that I am blessed every single day.
Every Easter I am reminded that my life has been renewed and restored. So even though my Son is at college, and my bf is thousands of miles away and I have to work, I know that God has purposefully placed me with an Alzheimer’s patient today that has no family here. She is what will fill my cup today. He has given me work to ease her suffering. So, I can live with a text from my bf, we will have our time in the near future to have our dinners and children together. My son is not home from Syracuse but all 3 of us are healthy and I no longer have to fear the abuser ruining our holiday.
For a brief moment, I allowed myself to go to that place of “Why does the ex abuser get to enjoy an Easter dinner when he ruined all of ours?” But I let it go and said a prayer that he does not ruin her Easter with her children. And I remembered all the times the kids and I were afraid or in tears or when I missed my family because he refused to go and I was once again thankful at my renewal and the life I have with the man I love.
Aunt Gloria, I get it now. Thank you for being such a great role model and a fierce warrior. It takes a strong woman to do what you did.
I hope that everyone’s Easter, traditional or not, is blessed. May God keep you within his reach today and always.