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On Matters of Life and Death

Spring is beautiful.  And I hate it.  

On Easter Sunday, five years ago, my Dad was hospitalized.  He remained mostly in Intensive Care until he was moved to Palliative Care and died shortly after he received last rites, on April 21, 2012.

From a Christian perspective, I have always associated Easter with the crucifix.  And when I think of the cross I don't think of eternal life, or born again or being raised from the dead. I just think of suffering and death.

As a Christian I know you're not supposed to view it that way, but I'm just being honest here and telling you how I have related to the imagery throughout my life.

Whether you are a Christian or a Pagan, Easter is supposed to be about life.  Full of symbols of rebirth and renewal.  The resurrection of the cross, eggs, rabbits, greenery, lilies.  So why is that so hard for me to process?  I see the life. I know it's out here, all around us, cyclically, year after year, generation after generation.  

How do I take the steps to view this time of the year in its proper context?  How do I move past the cross and look to life everlasting?  How do I stop mourning the death of my father and see instead the life in my son, who smiles my father's smile daily?  My father has been reborn in my son.  But it's hard for me to accept it.  

My favourite Saint is Saint Anthony of Padua.  A few months before my father died, I visited St. Anthony's Basilica in Padua and had one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life.  I also brazenly prayed for a child during that visit, and learned of my pregnancy a year later, almost to the exact day. One of St. Anthony's symbols is the Lily.  Which is of course also the popular Easter symbol of new birth, resurrection and motherhood.

In 2005, years previously I painted my own Lily painting, called Lilly Belly.  I don't know why I painted it.  I believe it came straight from my subconscious. I certainly wasn't consciously thinking about birth or life at the time.  

So this acceptance of life is buried somewhere in my psyche.  I need to focus on the evidence of life in this world, and the idea of life in another world.  Everyone dies, every living thing dies, but life is constantly returning, coming back, reminding us to have faith in the future.  


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