Empty Chair

How is it that Easter has suddenly crept up on us?  It seemed so far away and yet, here we are. Holy Week. I must admit that I am totally not ready. Not physically, and certainly not emotionally. This is it: our first holiday without Mom.

We are doing our best to keep up all the traditions, but I have no idea how my mother did it all. True she was a stay-at-home mom most of her life, but even in her later years, she did a tremendous amount of work.  In fact, she did pretty much everything.  And so we go about trying to split the work between us.

I made the seasonal pickled eggs for my Dad, and my sister-in-law, Sandy, made her second batch of homemade pierogies.  (I got off easy on that one.)  Friday, we will have to hard boil our own eggs for coloring (yes, Mom even did that for us… including getting all the supplies ready for us), and we’ve got things covered for our fish dinner Friday night.

My Dad decided that he still wants to do the tradition of getting a basket blessed on Saturday, even though he has never gone to do that in my memory.  It was always me and Mom.  But I will indulge him this, although I will not be making a second ham to include in the basket.  We will make do with a few simple items: kielbasi, eggs, bread, butter, horseradish.  But we will honor this tradition.

Sunday dinner.  Sandy and I have split the tasks on this one, evenly splitting the dinner items, as well as desserts.  I’ll be baking (or at least attempting) Mom’s world famous sugar cookies.  Of course, we do not remember the recipe for the icing, so we’ll have to see what Google can come up with.  I’ll also be baking the peanut butter blossom cookies, and also attempting a lemon pie. I guess I’ll do a practice run before the weekend arrives.

I understand that many of you reading this are thinking “big deal”.  I am sure so many of you tackle the whole dinner thing on your own, and then some. But we have been spoiled rotten by many years of Mom doing all the work. She loved every minute of it and she was the focal point of every single holiday. It’s not so much her cooking we’ll miss, but her presence.

I am grateful that my church sent me the book “The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions” by Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge, RN, Ed.D., and Robert C. DeVries, D.Min., PhD.  I am working my way through it this week, and am appreciative of the reflections.  The book speaks to my heart and it is nice to see my feelings put into words better than I could do it myself.  It’s going to be a difficult week, but I pray that we can find some peace in the joy that is the Easter season. Mom would have wanted it that way.

empty chair


So in my pickled egg adventure, I Google’d how to make the perfect hard boiled eggs. Historically, I just boil the hell out of them, not really timing them.  I thought this method, from our dear Martha Stewart, was much easier, and very effective:  Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

But you already knew that, didn’t you?  🙂

So what are your Easter traditions?


IMDb Empty Chair (2015)


3 thoughts on “Empty Chair

  1. What a beautiful post. It certainly sounds like your mum will be there in spirit – what great memories you have of a wonderful mother.
    I will look out for the book you suggested.

    • Thank you! I was very blessed with a wonderful mother. I definitely recommend the book. It’s helpful to know someone understands my feelings. I’m sorry for your loss also.

  2. Michele your mom is looking down and smiling knowing that you are all keeping up with her very special Easter traditions – I remember the holidays growing up and all that my Mom did for us and the family and wondering Why would she do all of this – well when my family came along and she was no longer able to do everything I took over and can hear my daughter saying that she would never do all of this. Well now that she has her own home and family she is taking on all of the traditions that she grew up with and it warms my heart to see that all my hard work over the years meant something to her – so now I say to her Why are you doing all of this? Her answer is that she had such wonderful memories of holidays growing up with her grandmother and with me that she wants her family to have the same warm feelings – so continue with all of the traditions and your son will carry those with him as he grows up. Happy and Blessed Easter Michele to you and your whole family – give them all hugs and kisses for me.

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