My husband Ed and I spent Palm Sunday weekend and most of Holy Week in California enjoying birthday celebrations and visiting with family; it was a nice chance to reconnect with relatives we haven't seen for a long time—a kind of reunion. Our nine-year-old granddaughter exclaimed, "I didn't know that there were so many Morrisseys!"
We're not a small clan.
We were able to visit with my mother who is in very poor health and has dementia. I am always so grateful each trip when I can still have a chance to see her. It can bring up so many memories and a mixed bag of emotions; I realize each minute spent together is precious. She was so surprised to see us, and it was all I could do to keep the tears out of my voice when she and I were holding hands and she kept saying, "My daughter . . . my daughter . . . I just can't believe it!"
It is difficult to see one's mom—the person who once explained the world to you—so confused, weak and befuddled. Some of what she talked about made sense and some didn't. I was just grateful that she knew who we were and that it made her so happy to have us there.
She spoke of my dad and that he would be so thrilled when we can all be together. "You know your daddy...he is getting everything all ready for us up there." At first, I wasn't sure if she realized that my dad passed in 1991, but I think that she did—"up there" referred to being reunited one day in heaven, and God was the one "getting things ready."
I was also able to visit with a friend of mine, Melinda. A friend since our days at Braille school, when we were both in our early twenties, I knew she was having some health issues. She had quadruple bypass surgery three years ago and almost didn't survive. She is also now dealing with dialysis, which I can attest is a challenge.
Melinda has been told she needs a second heart surgery. After talking it over with her husband, though, she has decided that she really doesn't want to go through that again. "I just want to live my life the best I can one-day-at-a-time," she told me. "Isn't that what we are all supposed to do?" Even with the surgery, her doctors have told her, her survival could range from one-to-five years, so Melinda has decided that with those odds, she'd rather just take each day as it comes and put the rest put it all in God's hands.
With the trip and wonderful visits we enjoyed fresh on my mind giving me a refreshed perspective, I read the scripture and the resurrection accounts again, as if for the first time. The tomb was empty, and Jesus appeared to them even through a locked door. He greeted them saying "Peace be with you." He wasn't a spirit or ghost—He showed them His hands and feet inviting them to touch Him. I have to smile when I read the story in this Sunday's gospel reading (Luke 24: 35-48) when Jesus asks if they have anything to eat. He eats some broiled fish in their presence to prove that He is real. They were startled and slow to understand, but then were filled with joy.
The same frightened and confused followers who were behind locked doors, after they understood and were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost went out boldly sharing what they knew to be true—even giving their lives for what they couldn't deny. If it had been a hoax, why would they do that? Easter is the reason why we have hope.
Thinking of that, I realized my mother is right; my Heavenly Abba is "getting everything ready for us up there," and my friend Melinda knows that each day is to be lived the best we can, but that this life isn't all there is.
The last thing Ed and I did before we left for the airport was to buy flowers to place at my dad's grave and "make a visit" there as well. As I said a prayer while Ed went for water for the flowers, I was thinking that the grave isn't the end, for any of us. There is a great reunion celebration to look forward to!