It’s been almost ten years since my husband, Larry, passed away but I still recall during the early stages of my grief it felt as though I was living a parallel life. I had one-foot living in the past, remembering every holiday and celebration with Larry by my side, and the other foot living in the present, facing current and future holidays without Larry.
I would step outside and see everyone going about their normal business of going to school, work or another activity. I wanted to scream, “How can you carry on like nothing has happened!” Yet, I learned one of the most valuable lessons. Life is in constant motion and life moves forward. Thank goodness!
Sometimes it takes the momentum of life to give that little push we need to move forward. If there weren’t moments worth celebrating, I may still have that one foot stuck in the past and be very hesitant to bring it into the present.
It may not be the life I wanted or dreamed of, but it’s the only life I have. I learned almost ten years ago I better make it the best life possible for me and my children. Larry would expect nothing less. I wasn’t given a choice to face a new reality, but I did have a choice how I lived in the new reality. The same holds true today.
Today, as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, no one could’ve imagined that our “new reality” would’ve resulted in separation from family and friends. Yet, I’m encouraged and uplifted with all the positive stories out there. Our nation has pulled together like never before and I’m confident together we will get through this.
It’s this pulling together attitude that will help us all find a way to celebrate Passover and Easter this year. Around the world, words of caution have been voiced to limit gatherings forcing families to find a different way to worship, celebrate and honor the biggest holiday’s in the Christian and Jewish faiths.
It’s not the holiday of year’s past, with crowded synagogues/churches, packed restaurants and large family gatherings. No doubt, it will be difficult celebrating the day, being separated from family, especially grandparents.
Nonetheless, it’s still the week of Passover and Holy week culminating with Easter this Sunday. While we may not be able to come together like years past, with some advance planning we can still find ways to celebrate our faith.
Are there any traditions you would like to follow?
It’s all about the food
In the Jewish faith Passover is observed with a feast called a Seder. A few years ago, my boys and I were invited to partake in the feast hosted by some good friends. The Seder plate displays six foods that are symbolic to the struggles faced by Israelites before leaving Egypt.
Those of Christian faith celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. Many celebrate Easter by coming together to share a meal as well. Since I can remember, we always had a ham on Easter, along with deviled eggs and plenty of rolls. I’ve since added lamb to the menu, since that was one of Larry’s favorites. Some families choose to forgo cooking and celebrate with an Easter brunch that usually requires a reservation made months in advance.
This year, with the restaurants closed and grocery stores still facing shortages, how does one plan a meal to recognize the holiday of our faith and carry on some traditions?
Create the menu of your choice with a list of all your ingredients needed. Then create a plan B. What can you substitute if you can’t find a ham, eggs, or rolls?
What if you can’t find some of the items needed for the Seder plate?
Ask the members of your household what food they would like to have. You may be surprised what you hear, especially if you have young kids at home! Personally, as a child, I couldn’t stomach eating ham, and never ate a piece on Easter until I was much older. So not having a ham wouldn’t have been an issue for my younger self, it would’ve been preferred!
Some synagogues are allowing for substitutions with the items for the Seder plate. It’s best to contact your synagogue and take the lead from your Rabbi.
Maybe you’re used to dining out to celebrate the holiday. I’d recommend, if you have the means to do so, order from a favorite restaurant for pick up. This is a great opportunity to support local businesses if you can. Again, call in advance to make sure they are still accepting orders.
Food has been, and I suspect, always will be the center of our celebrations. As we gather this year, I know I’ll be thankful that I have food to offer my family, not matter what the food is.
Worship from home
Do you usually attend Church on Easter morning or go to the Synagogue during Passover? If so, you can still watch a service. Many churches/synagogues are offering services online or on television. Check the website of your preferred church/parish/synagogue to see how they are handing services this year.
What about the Easter Bunny?
The younger the child, the more difficult it will be to understand the changes that are necessary this year to celebrate Easter. Be as honest as you can and give age appropriate answers to your children. I found some great guidelines for talking to kids about COVID-19. Click on this link for tips on talking to your child about COVID-19, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/10-tips-for-talking-about-covid-19-with-your-kids.
Is your child expecting the Easter Bunny? Will the Easter Bunny be able to make it to your house? With advance notice, talk with your kids about what they will realistically see from the Easter Bunny if he does come this year. Better to curtail expectations than face disappointment come Easter morning.
Please, be patient with your children, with all the problems going on today you may feel like this is the least of your worries. But to the children, this is HUGE to them.
Will you be able to color eggs? If you can’t find eggs at the grocery store, or can only buy a limited amount, I recommend making some paper eggs. Try looking on Pinterest for some crafty ways to make Easter eggs at home without using real eggs. You can also Google for some ideas too.
I challenge you to find a way to stay connected with family this Easter/Passover even if you can’t physically be together. Again, technology can be a terrific platform in allowing families to break bread together, at least virtually!
This year will be different than any other holiday you’ve experienced. It may be very difficult for some but know our efforts to stay home this Passover/Easter will allow us to celebrate many more in the future with our family and friends.
I pray you have a safe, healthy and Happy Passover/Easter!