Easter has come and gone.
The time of bunnies and chocolate eggs and lilies.
And the smell of spring is in the air – almost.
It is a time of hope.
A reminder of the significance of this momentous occasion.
The time that those who believe say that none other than Jesus, the son of God, was crucified and then rose from the dead three days later.
A time of hope indeed.
For me it is a time of new beginnings, of hopeful things.
Heading into the winter was a dark time: I had just lost my mum in the summer, one of our elderly cats in September, the Queen died, a horse at the barn had to be euthanized because of an incurable hoof affliction in October, and then another one of our elderly cats died in November.
A lot of loss.
It was the first Christmas in my 60 years on this planet that my entire little family of origin was not around; no mum, no brother, no father.
A sombre time indeed.
No Christmas cards, no phone calls, no gifts, no meals out at restaurants, such as they were.
There were many dark days when only having to get up to care for the remaining two cats got me out of bed.
And it turns out that it was literally the darkest winter we have had here in Southern Ontario in more than 75 years with little to no sunshine.
My seasonal affective disorder was in overdrive.
Signing on as a companion caregiver for seniors helped fill the time and gave me something meaningful to do.
Engaging with them, hearing their stories, offering help with things they could no longer do for themselves, all a healing salve.
Volunteering to deliver meals on wheels for the Red Cross also helped me greatly, as well as the people who received the meals.
Bury your grief in doing good deeds, I heard said once.
Not to deny your grief, but not to dwell on it for too long a time at once.
Lest the sadness take over completely, for it can and will.
Just like the Swamps of Sadness overcame the horse Artax in the movie The Neverending Story.
But now, Easter has come and gone, and spring has officially sprung.
In fact, Easter Monday was sunny and warm – cracking the 20 degree Celsius mark!
People were out in their shorts and t-shirts – skateboarding and bicycling.
The snow is finally melting; the mourning doves are courting.
The robins are building their nests; the grackles are doing their thang.
The chipmunks have come out of hibernation; the chickens at the barn can scratch in the earth again.
I can almost see the buds on the lilac trees ready to bloom.
Soon the grass will be green and the flowers will be popping.
The smell of spring is almost in the air; the continued warmth of the days is not far away.
I know there may well be one more blast of snow and wintry wrath.
But it won’t stay long.
It won’t be able to.
Because spring is irrepressible; unstoppable.
Although it doesn’t last long in these parts – maybe a couple of weeks before we are in full-on summer mode – it is enough to help shake off the dust of winter.
And that, if nothing else, offers hope.
Hope that this year will be lighter somehow; the burden of loss and grief eased a little.
The pain of the past year lessened by time slightly.
I know we all have pain – show me a person without pain and I will show you a robot.
But for us more sensitive types the pain is almost like a personal affront.
The optimist in me however will continue to look for the good; continue to believe in the blessings.
Knowing that everything has its time, its season, and realizing that nothing and no one can last forever.
Hoping for the best, looking forward to the great unknowns of what might be ahead, believing in the positive always outweighing the negative.
That is what hope is for; that is what hope does.
Here’s hoping.

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