Well it’s Easter Eve and I just finished putting the girls Easter baskets together on the kitchen table. We still have one for Hailey, and always will…just some Lay’s potato chips and a few cute knickknacks for her place, but it still gives us some comfort to continue to include her in all our holiday celebrations. Although Easter definitely has more meaning to me, especially now, than just Easter baskets and the Easter bunny, when you have kids, those things do have to get woven in.
I wish I had something really profound to say to you all since tomorrow is Easter, which in my eyes is now the most important and meaningful holiday of the year. I think I probably said all that stuff last year on our first Easter without Hailey. But, I do have a few thoughts that I wanted to share.
Sean and I have tried even harder since Hailey died to really bring out and teach the true meaning of these sacred, religious holidays to our girls. I’ve talked to Lexi a lot about Easter and what it really means for Christians around the world…leaving out the Easter Bunny and baskets. Of course, Hailey had a big part in those conversations, but Lexi seemed very much okay with talking about her and even quite fascinated and excited about it.
It’s been very interesting this year because I can see how much Lexi is maturing as a little girl, but more importantly in her faith. She has spoken of Christ and the resurrection many times over the past few weeks and how important it is to her. This is such a beautiful thing to hear from a 7 year old. I love children’s purity and innocence. It paves the way for such strong faith and testimony in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I especially love seeing it grow and develop in my children…it’s such an amazingly beautiful thing.
Tonight, she left a letter to the Easter Bunny that I hadn’t read until after she was in bed. Here is what it said (exactly as written):
I can't believe it's finally here!
Anyway I love Easter! Not because it's
just about you (but I love you anyway)
ok. Anyway because Jesus resurrected!
Lexi, Hailey & Ava
I was so touched by what she had written and how she remembered what Easter was really all about!
Of course, I have thought so much about Christ and the resurrection and what that means for my family now that we have one of our precious children in Heaven. Easter has definitely taken on a whole new meaning to me since Hailey passed away, which in some ways disappoints me that I didn’t see it so sacredly beforehand. I’ve always remembered the Savior and what He did for us, but I’ll admit that I often got caught up in all the secular things too, especially after having children. Now, I feel like I can relate to His resurrection so much more personally. That’s definitely one of the most beautiful blessings that have come from Hailey’s passing.
Tonight, the true meaning of Easter, really hit me hard…In a good way though! I was so filled with gratitude and excitement I was caught off guard a little. Lexi, Sean, and I were reading a story called The Easter Walk, written by Deborah Rowley and Dan Burr. A dear friend of ours dropped it off last year right before Easter. It’s such a beautiful story about two children whose mother had died several years before. Ever since she died, their grandfather would take them on an Easter walk where he would read scriptures telling the “Easter Story,” about Christ, His death, and His resurrection. After each scripture, the children had to run and find something outside to represent what the scripture was talking about. For example, when he read the scripture of how Christ was nailed to the cross, the children found a piece of wood to represent it. He went on to describe how after Christ’s death he was placed in a sepulchre and a large rock was pushed in front of the opening (to which the children went and found a rock.). On Easter morning, when Mary Magdalene and Christ’s mother, Mary went to visit Him, the stone had been moved and He was no longer there. An angel appeared to them and said, “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is arisen; he is not here…” (Mark 16:6)
As I read that, I literally got tingles down my spine as I pictured myself going to visit Hailey one day at her place and seeing the stone moved and a hole in the ground, but nothing in it. Then I pictured that angel appearing to me and saying similarly, “Be not afraid, Hailey is no longer here for she is risen!” Now, of course, being the impatient person I am, I wish I only had to wait 3 days for that moment, but just knowing that it will someday happen is enough for me! That is what Easter means to me! My little Hailey will one day rise again to live with us as a family (Although, most likely we’ll be rising with her by then…but who knows!).
This Easter I have really focused on that miracle and blessing the Savior gave us when He willingly died for each one of us, personally, only to rise again and defeat death. Along with this, which gives me such great hope and joy, are the events leading up to that miraculous death and resurrection…the Atonement of Christ. He knelt in that garden and felt every single bit of heartache, frustration, pain, anger, hurt, defeat, sadness, devastation, and so on, that I’ve personally felt. He felt that for me, for you, and for every other human being who ever existed! I can’t imagine how anyone, even the Savior of the World, could endure something like that. It’s literally beyond my comprehension, yet I know He did it and I know that if I were the only one who needed it, He would have done it all just for me. That is how He has officially become my best friend. On those days where the grief or anger of losing Hailey is so overwhelming, I remember that He, and only He, knows exactly how I feel because He personally felt it too.
How much more beautiful and sacred could such a holiday as Easter really be?