These last few Easters, I’ve missed my Granddad so much it’s hard to breathe for a minute. This Easter is especially hard because it’s also the anniversary of his death a year ago.
Every Easter before dementia made it impossible, I would call him, and he would pick up.
“CHRIST IS RISEN!” I would bellow into the phone.
After a moment of startled silence as he absorbed that a girl from his atheist family had just said that to him (and maybe because I was yelling), he would say back: “Christ is risen, indeed!” and laugh his warm, round, great bell of a laugh, and talk joyously about what a beautiful day it was, and of hope, and a chance at a fresh start.
Easter always transported my Granddad into joy. It meant so much to him, this greatest of Christian feasts. And while he sometimes made me laugh a bit, behind his back, when he anxiously asked me if I had ever crossed myself and once reacted with utter horror when I mistakenly called a little statuette of Jesus he had in his house a ‘saint,’ he was mainly a sweetly honest, kind sort of Christian. The kind who called death “One of the greatest mysteries,” who truly wasn’t entirely certain what was going to happen when he was gone, but hopeful he would be part of some great, glorious afterlife in which my Grandmoms would meet him. (Yes; he thought she would be there, too, despite the fact that when I would accompany him to church she would smile and wave and call out: “Say hello to the hypocrites for me!” That’s what I mean about being the best sort of Christian.)
I hope he is part of some great, glorious mystery, now. I truly do. But damn do I miss him.