This has been a long Easter season and as we are accustomed to bringing in the newness of life during this season, it is also a great time to let go of the lingering resentments of anger and confusion that comes with grieving the loss of a child.  Holding on to great memories and letting go of hurt, resentment, and hatred, if any is living in your soul, is always what bereaved parents are advised to pursue and hopefully achieve.

My beloved daughter was killed one week after Easter in 2005, which was an unusually early Easter season.  This year being a late Lenten Season, it is just lingering here as if a procrastinating visitor has used up his welcome, but on the other side of my awakening, I am relishing the moments of grief that have now turned into memories and memorials to my daughter.

In the middle of this journey, we tried to move away from it all, but the recession did not allow us to run too far.   I live in a new world now without my daughter. It is fueled by memories of her when she lived here with us, but I still face spring holidays like Easter, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day with the mask that I have created for alienating myself from others and from the pain and lingering grief that tugs at the focus of my life.

At least I can focus on some important parts of my life now, and I am grateful for that gift.  I look at my son, who is 17 years old now and realize that grief can become a friend of sorts, a bad habit and if you let it, grief will consume your being so that your life passes you by and your loved ones who remain suffer all the more for that loss of your presence.

That realization is another call to life, and the Easter season is like a clarion call for the bereaved. The sunshine hurts your eyes and the sweet nesting birds singing their springtime song remind you again of your loss every moment of each new day.

Every year, I am faced with new challenges, and since this coming year is my son’s last year in high school, my focus is centered on him until the center of my concentration flits away like a butterfly from the garden, back into my other world of those endless beloved memories.

The problem is that my son has already lost so much of me and he needs me to be present now, not tomorrow or the next day. Right now, my husband needs me to wake up and participate in this new world, where the new life is being cultivated with extreme force and where the momentum will not wait for mourning souls.

Easter calls us out of our sleep, and then we must face our lives again and try to integrate our focus in the land of the living.  This is the most difficult life-lesson assignment that has ever been asked of me – and I won’t know how well I have done until next year, when I start the process all over again.

Cynthia Ranyak 2011

Cynthia Ranyak

Cynthia Ranyak

Cynthia L. Belcher-Ranyak is director of nonprofit operations for is an advocacy group for safe teen driving. Since 2007 has given 6 scholarships to deserving students heading for college in memory of Cynthia's beautiful and talented daughter, Emily Jasmine, who was killed in a violent car crash in 2005. Cynthia regards herself as friend to victims of crime and an activist for children’s rights.

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