Two years ago, at the beginning of spring, my mama moved on from this life to the next. The winter of her life finished up right at the beginning of spring 2011. I often think of this, for some reason it is poignant. I remember that Easter was a couple of weeks after, and I went to Easter mass for the first time in years at Saint Monica’s, the church where we would go when I was a child. I was five months pregnant and it was so crowded that day, a line running around the block. Thankfully I was able to use the pregnant excuse to pass ahead and save everyone some seats. I could barely stand up during the mass.
I remember that was the first time that the meaning of resurrection, rebirth, in the Catholic sense of the word, meant something to me. It was the end of one thing and the beginning of the other. The end of my mother’s life, the end of her days on this earth, the end of the time that I got to spend with her. In my belly grew my baby daughter. It was part two of my life, the part where I don’t have my mother and I get to be a mother. I was rebirthed as a mother. Of course, this had already happened two years earlier when I became a mother for the first time, but that April was different. Everything changed.
The day after Momie died, a friend of the family told me that in the Jewish mysticism tradition, when someone dies who is close to someone who is pregnant at the time, a part of their soul goes to the baby. That’s probably not exactly it, I’d be interested in looking it up to be exact, but it was something like that. I do feel, Daughter, that when you smile I can see my mama in your face somewhere. She is always with me, with us.
Not having ever been all that religious, I find that my faith has gotten stronger since Momie died. I believe with all my heart and being that she is with God now. I believe it because I feel it in my bones. Yes, it’s comforting. Yes, I can’t explain it. I just…know. So I choose to believe. I also think it makes it easier to explain to children, where Momie is now, and it gives me comfort while I’m explaining it.
Two weeks ago, Son, I took you to the American Church of Paris for the 9am Easter Sunday mass. It was a beautiful service. I’ve been thinking a lot about your religious education lately. I don’t want to force religion down your throat, but I do want you to know what it’s all about, so that you can make your own decisions later on. I want you also to have a sense of spirituality. The Easter mass has taken on new meaning for me now, the sense of rebirth and resurrection, the joyousness of it all, regardless of whether or not you believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, which is certainly a beautiful thought but one that still confuses the heck out of me.
So, Easter mass is going to be a tradition. We will go to mass at the American Church, and then have brunch at Breakfast in America, then go have an Easter egg hunt in the park if it isn’t raining. (We will do it another day if it is). I have to buy enough Paas kits to last us a few years, I’ll see if Grandpa can send us some. It’s nice to have these traditions.
I’d like to eventually take you to church once a month. Not every Sunday, because there are other things to do on Sunday mornings, there’s the pool and the market or just going to the park in summer. But for a time when I was a child, we went every Sunday, and I think I got something out of it even if I was bored most of the time. I do think it is important.
Yesterday was the first warm day of the year. 24 degrees celsius. There was warm blazing sunshine alongside the winter trees who haven’t yet sprouted their spring leaves and flowers. We tricycled to the park for an early picnic lunch in the park, played ball, came back for naps, then went back in the afternoon to sit on the grass. Back to rain today, a warm drizzle, but I’m looking forward now to warm days and expansion.