As a non-Christian person, I see Easter as a celebration of new life and new birth (in part thanks to an explanation by a member of Jessica’s Unitarian Universalist church, who gave a sermon around Easter 2009 about the pagan origins of the festival of Easter and the corresponding symbols of eggs, for new life, and bunnies, for fertility). As I sit here this Easter morning, it is difficult not to think about the obvious symbolism it should hold for me, with my swollen belly as a very tangible sign of the new life that will greet us very soon and the hope engendered by that prospect.
And as much as I want to focus on that, it is just impossible not to think about and mourn what should be today. It is a gorgeous spring day here in DC, almost summer-like, actually. We should have spent the morning watching Hudson find her Easter basket, hunting plastic eggs in the backyard, decorating real ones here in dining room, and preparing for an adventure to the Arboretum or the zoo or Gravelly Point for airplane watching or some other place where a family of three, soon-to-be-four, with an active and curious toddler, should be spending a beautiful day like this.
But that is all in my imagination. In reality, I am sitting here, writing on this blog that I wish didn’t exist, and poring over these lovely pictures from last Easter, looking at every detail, every smile, every expression, every pose yet again, as if I haven’t had these images memorized since those early days after Hudson died, when every photo suddenly and shockingly became not simply a childhood memento which we could stock away to laugh and fawn over for decades to come, but part of the record of little girl’s all too short and so very sweet life.
I know I keep saying that each set of pictures I post is one of my favorites. These are no different. I guess when you only get 17 months of photos to remember your child by, they all quickly become your favorites. But as I’ve also said so many times before, these last pictures, these photos from March and April of last year… they just tell such a wonderful story of a life so very well-lived by all of us, and they capture so well the incredible joy that Hudson brought to our lives, joy that we so deeply miss and grieve now.
We started Easter last year with an early morning trip down to see the cherry blossoms, an adventure I posted about at the beginning of this month. We figured Easter morning might be a good time to avoid crowds, and for the most part, our strategy worked.
When we got back home, I “hid” some plastic eggs in the backyard and set Hudson loose with her new Easter basket to find them. She took to this task as if she’d been doing it for years.
A little later, we headed back in to decorate some real eggs. While we didn’t let Hudson do any of the actual dyeing (which might have been a little ambitious at her age), she was very happy with her job of putting stickers on them after they were colored. I absolutely love the looks of serious concentration on both of their faces.
Another of my very favorite pictures of our girl. I think I’ve written before that I imagine this is the closest we’ll ever get to knowing what she would have looked like as an older child. So much wisdom in that face, it seems. Her teacher, Ms. Barbara, told us that Hudson seemed to have an old soul, like she had been here before.
But the most fun I think all of us had was at the Easter egg hunt at Hudson’s school, St. Ann’s, a few days before Easter. I feel like I must sound so repetitive, but gosh, so much of Hudson’s spirit just shines through these pictures. She was such an incredibly happy kid.
Offering the bunny an egg
Even better, offering him a kiss
Hudson and her friend Maddy
Oh, this picture makes me swoon.
Finding her first Easter eggs
I love the egg in her pocket (even though I put it there).
“So what do I do now?”
Do what you do best, sweet Hudson. Smile.
Happy Easter, my girl. And Happy Easter, everyone.