Easter is my favourite time of the year. A time for new beginnings, for remembering the importance of simple things and special people.
It’s not just the promise of an extra-long weekend – although any long weekend that begins with ‘Good’ in the title must be a standout in the calendar year.
Easter is a simpler time than Christmas. For a start, there’s the very short shopping list:
- a hot-cross bun or two (or a fresh dozen)
- some fish (with chips) for the Good Friday yearly special.
For many years, I headed down to the start of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race at Sandgate on Good Friday. In more recent years, I have found myself a fresh vantage point, watching the yachts sail past from Suttons Beach at the Redcliffe Festival of Sails.
If you came across me there, you’d find a woman with a big grin, feet in the sand, eyes on the sparkling waters of Moreton Bay, an ice block in hand and family by my side.
It has been a year for remembering the importance of the simplest things.
In the weeks immediately before Christmas 2021, my 92 year old Grandmother, Patricia Mary Cook, came to the last of her days.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, we made an agreement as a family: none of the Christmas lists really mattered.
What we ate, the presents under the tree, the madly cleaned house, the fresh haircuts, was all insignificant compared to the greatest gift we would receive in the year: the opportunity to gather around Grandma’s bedside through those final days.
And gather we did.
The nurses watched a steady stream of our large family make its way to and from Grandma’s bedside. We laughed together, held her hand, stroked her brow, told stories, hugged each other, completed coffee runs, read aloud from Trent Dalton’s latest book, “Love Stories” and counted the privilege of sharing this time together.
I have a cousin, Cass, who is nearly 20 years younger than me. That age gap is large, and we had an awkward politeness between us that was hard to get past. Sharing this time with Cass around Grandma’s death bed, though, opened the door to a relationship with her that I hope lasts a lifetime.
Even in death, there is the possibility of new life in a family. When Grandma left us on 20 December, she did so having witnessed the care extended to each other and having felt the love that surrounded her. May we all have such a good death when our time comes.
They say Easter is about new life. I think it is a nudge to remind us that life is not designed for list making, but for the simplicity of sharing.
May this Easter, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, be shared with people you love.
May you find a favourite spot to enjoy together and let your eyes sparkle.
And if you see me swinging my legs at the waters’ edge down at Suttons Beach, look for the sparkle in my eyes. It will be there, mirroring your own.
Take care and a Happy Easter from the whole Churchill team.