Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Joys

During many events that occur annually, I think it is a natural tendency for people, and maybe especially moms, to think back through the years and contemplate how things have changed.  It's always bittersweet - feeling thankful for all the blessings of today, while missing some of what has been lost to the past. 

A few days ago we celebrated Easter - the most wonderful of holidays for all of the hope and promise for the future that it brings.  Being especially prone to freqent journeys down Memory Lane as of late, of course I began to recall Easters of the past, specifically beginning with 2007....

This was Anna's first Easter -- she was just about four months old.  I remember being excited about choosing a pretty little dress for her to wear.  Boys can be adorable, but picking a dress is so much more fun than deciding on a polo shirt or shirt and tie!  As always, I savored the opportunity to choose just the right treasures for each Easter basket, three baskets this year instead of two!

Here is Easter 2008:
 Unfortunately I cannot find a picture of the kids in their church clothes, and I cannot remember what dress Anna wore for her second Easter.  I'm sure I had fun choosing one though!  I love the pictures of all three kids together, although it's never easy to get a good one.

Easter 2009 was drastically different.  Anna was in the hospital just a few weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.  It had been a rough few weeks, but on Easter Anna was feeling quite well.  For the first time during her hospital stay, I changed her out of her hospital gowns so she could wear a pretty dress for Easter. 
And for at least part of the day, our family was all in one place so we captured a photo of the three kids together.

Easter 2010 was full of hope and promise.  We were at the very end of Anna's treatments and there was at that time no sign of cancer in her body.  For the first time she got to give her input as we picked out the perfect dress for this special day. 
We celebrated once again having our family all together - and at home!

That leads to Easter 2011.  Some things were the same as every other Easter.  We woke the boys very early so they could find their baskets before we headed to the sunrise church service.  We enjoyed Easter breakfast at church.  We had Easter dinner with family. 

But this year there was no choosing the perfect little Easter dress.  We were back to filling just two baskets.  And in order for us to have the feeling that we were all together on this holiday, we had to visit the cemetery.  On that beautiful April day, we stood by Anna's grave, looked toward the skies, and said, "Happy Easter, Anna!" 

The most imporant joys of Easter haven not changed, though.  If anything those joys have increased.  We are able to rejoice that Anna is dressed in the most beautiful dress of all while singing Alleluia at the feet of Jesus!  Our hearts overflow with the wonderful knowledge that we will be reunited with Anna and be able to sing the praises of him who has saved us, all together once again.  The grave had no hold on Jesus, and it has no hold on Anna.  So on Easter 2012 and all the Easters to come, we will naturally mourn that Anna is not with us, but we will rejoice even more in the resurrection!

And here are our joy-filled boys, looking way too grown up!!