Good Friday Blues
Easter can be such a difficult time for many. I know this, I know it in the depth of my being. I don’t ‘do’ Easter well by most people’s standards. It’s a time I just get through as quickly as possible. I get the blues.
I have a sadness etched into my heart. Almost 40 years of it. It’s OK, I’m used to it, and I manage it really well, at least I think I do. But I still get the blues. And what’s more importantly, I give myself permission to feel the blues.
The hue has changed over the years, from the deepest, darkest , deepest midnight blue, to sometimes, a beautiful , shimmery sky blue. I’m not quite sure exactly what colour it is today, but I think it may be Cobalt Blue, at least that’s the name printed on my colour pencil.
My blue is tinged with rose pink today though. I’m listening to some of the music that my mother loved, Barry White and Neil Diamond. As I tap away at my keyboard Hot August Night is playing. I’ve already boogied away with Barry, my mama used to do housework with these tunes blaring. Vacuum in one hand, and quite often a ciggy in the other. I guess she’d vacuum up the ash as it dropped!
She loved to smoke, didn’t mind a beverage or two and she wrote lovely quirky poetry in her last years.
And today is the anniversary of day she died, 15th of April 1983 at only 52 years young. It’s always a totally shitty day. Some years I try and dress it up a bit and try not to be too melancholy, some years it takes almost all day to realise why I’m feeling so flat. This memory is hard wired through my whole body, and I have no control over that. The sadness comes in waves, sometimes a gentle lapping wave and sometimes a huge tsunami.
Today I’m on a gentle wave cycle and I’m loving all the memories. I’ll never forget our last moments together. We got together for Easter and when I left, she hugged me tight. She always did and I always nuzzled into her before sashaying away back into my twenty-something fabulous life. I didn’t know on that day, that would be the last time I’d see her upright.
It was all downhill in an intensive care bed after then. She had a massive brain bleed, survived for 8 long days, and then slipped peacefully away as we watched, enveloped in bubble of love. It was one of the most beautiful yet heart wrenching experiences I have ever had.
16 years later, on Easter Monday, my father died. He’d loved my mother with a passion that you usually only see in movies. He had it in real-time and suffered after mum died. ‘Suffer’ is hardly a big enough name for what he went through. He slid down a very slippery slide into a bubbling pit of sorrow, anguish and self-medication. Not only did our family mourn our mother, but we also watched helplessly as our father unravelled in front of our eyes, and there was nothing we could do to help.
He was a tough one though, after hitting the bottom of the pit, he eventually pulled himself out. It took a few tries and the help, steely determination and love of his kids and beloved others, to bully him into rehab, but he did it. I was always so proud of him for that, it was so hard. He’d pretty much lost everything except his rusty, mustard yellow Datsun that was held together with trust and prayers. But he found something that he held dear to, his inner strength, and he got himself sober.
We ended up becoming really good friends. He was my movie buddy, we both had a huge appetite for the big screen. We’d go to the movies regularly, until cancer ravaged his once strong body. The last thing we ever did together on his last day in hospital was watch a movie, using the video in the Nurses room. I cried my way through Up Close and Personal with Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer. How’s that for a last memory. I was with him when he died too, early the next morning. He died on 14th April.
My only happy thought that day was that at least he didn’t have to go through another anniversary of his wife’s death. It was torture for him every year.
So - Easter, you can take it or leave it. I respectfully turn into a bit of a hermit and leave it, mostly. However, I’m still known to have a hot cross bun or six and slam down a bit of chocolate in between the music memories along with my beverage of choice.
But what I have done over the last years is try and take the sting out of those two days that loom so large on my calendar – 14th and 15th of April. I buy myself something special. It’s my way of commemorating two amazing souls and I gift myself, from them, something totally special and sometimes a little outrageous.
My usual go to is a pair of gorgeous black suede shoes or boots, I’ve got quite the collection nowadays. And every time I step out in one of my ‘gifts’, it makes me smile, deep in my heart and acknowledge Olive and Terry for their kindness and generosity, it’s the gift that keeps on giving, year after year after year.
Take care, be kind to yourself and do Easter your way, however it is for you.