Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, the day of celebration. And yesterday was Good Friday. But what about that day of gloom in between? No one seems to recognize it, but I have always considered it one of the worst days of limbo each year.
When my grandma was admitted to the hospital, we knew to say our goodbyes. I was 15; insecure and troubled with my own inner struggles. She was one that I connected with; I wanted to grow up to be like my grandma. She was kind, gentle and had a full heart of love for everybody. And she never lost the chance to tell us grandkids so. But she had not been herself over the last few years; dementia had nestled into her mind and began to do its unfair damage. It’s such a cruel disease. I had slowly said my goodbyes to the grandma I knew up until the hospital.
The followers of Jesus didn’t get a chance to say their goodbyes over the course of time. Not like I did with my grandma. Of course, he gave them plenty of advance notice, but chances are they were just typical people who didn’t understand his meanings until much later.
Grandma went to be with God pretty soon after she was admitted. Or so I remember. In my memory, it was time. I had let her go, and I didn’t weep like I thought I would have. There was no easy way for the followers of Jesus to let him go. They had to watch him be tried, beaten and torn in two. They watched their beloved hang and bleed, and I can only imagine the sounds of sorrow, anguish and pain from those who loved him as he breathed his last.
They were able to finally say goodbye when he was placed in the tomb. They probably felt defeated, confused and so, so tired. It wears the body down to mourn that hard. I mean, you probably remember the last time you cried so hard your eyes burned. That’s not something you forget – because all your energy is seeped out into tears. I wonder what the memorial service for Jesus was like. Did the soldiers gawk? Did they feel the tiniest bit of pity for the survivors? Did Jesus’ followers try to comfort each other?
The funerals in my family are more like celebrations. We love seeing everyone and catching up. It’s a morbid way for a family reunion, but I am blessed to know that most of my family members know Jesus, and so, it is not a doomed situation. We grieve together, but then we remember. You’ll typically find us laughing and smiling. And I really think that’s how my passed family members would want it.
And then? After the burial? Everyone’s supposed to go “back to normal.”
I seem to remember holding it together pretty well during my grandma’s funeral. But man, those days following were tough. I think it hit me all of a sudden, and then I was expected to reenter into those difficult and challenging adolescent days. People don’t think to check up on those who’ve lost a loved one very well. I think I could have benefited from a caring person who understood that I hadn’t fully finished mourning. I still have days where I think fondly of her, even all these years later. I know she is with Jesus, but I am selfish and wish she could have met my husband and son. These are the days that I pull out her old jewelry, a memento.
What about the followers of Jesus? What could they have been thinking? Did they feel tricked? Did they even think at all? I have to believe that those who continued with their lives “as normal” the day after Jesus’ death had the most faith in the entire world. They must have known it wasn’t the end.
Seriously, Day 2 is more gloomy and horrible than Good Friday to me. I am grateful to know the rest of the story, and you better believe I’ll be celebrating in the morning!