Friday, April 6, 2012

Revisiting Easter Sunday, 1986

It was March 30, 1986, Easter Sunday—an Easter of firsts.

It was the first time my husband would experience Easter without his father on earth, alive and well; he had passed away six months earlier, at the age of 59.

It was my first Easter to not be attending church. I was, of all places, in the hospital, waiting for the doctor to sign my release so I could go home, following what had been, up to that point, the toughest season of my life.

Thirty days prior, I had undergone a complete hysterectomy, after a long battle with endometriosis, and unresolved fertility issues. I spent 10 days in the hospital. Even though I’d presented a low-grade temperature every day following surgery, my doctor finally decided to let me go home anyway.

Two weeks later, in the middle of the night, my fever spiked to 103. My doctor met us at the hospital for testing and, eventually, emergency surgery was performed, right on top of the last one. Yowza!

After another 10 days in the hospital, and having to swallow a whole lot of really yucky-tasting liquid antibiotics, I was discharged, which is how I came to be wearing pajamas and compression stockings on Easter Sunday, 1986. Not my best look.

There are days that are forever stamped upon your memory. Easter Sunday, 1986 is one of those days for me. I remember everything about that day.

On the way home from the hospital, Stan wanted to go by the cemetery and visit his father’s grave. It was just down the road from where we lived at the time.

When we got there, he said he wouldn’t be long and that I should probably wait in the car, since I was barely walking upright, but I said no, I wanted to go with him. Under a brilliant sky, in the early morning stillness, we shuffled arm-in-arm across the lawn and stood quietly at the marker of Ernest’s grave. Although we didn’t voice it until later, we were both thinking of the significance of the day, and the hope that Jesus Christ gave the world upon His resurrection. Such hope seemed more relevant that morning than ever before.

In a few minutes, Stan said, with a voice low and broken, “We miss you, Daddy. But we’ll see you again someday.”

Tears dripped off my nose as I thought of my young husband, living without his father from now on. In that moment, I despised death and disease and the unexpected griefs that fall on us. And I thought of our own loss—the children Stan and I would never have together. It was like another death to be mourned while standing at the graveside of my father-in-law. The tears just kept coming.

After awhile, we wrapped our arms around each other, stumbled back to the car and drove home.

In the afternoon, my sister and her husband came by for a visit, along with their adorable daughter who was then almost two. What a bright spot in the day—and better than any medicine—to get hugs and kisses from my precious niece.

I remember having a good laugh whenever Elaine walked in wearing the same dress I had planned to wear to church that day—unbeknownst to both of us. We would’ve been twins for the day.

The rest of that Sunday found me in bed, being cared for and waited on by my dear husband. In the evening, he brought me chicken noodle soup and sat with me while I ate it. We talked of the day, and what Easter means to Christians. We spoke of life and death, of friends and family, of yesterday’s sorrows, and tomorrow’s dreams.

There was no way to know the future; there never is. But as we leaned on each other, our tears mingling, I remember thinking that one of the worst days of my life had turned out to be a good day after all. I felt hopeful. It was Easter Sunday, and that made all things possible.

Epilogue: Six weeks later, we would receive an unexpected call about adopting a baby girl not yet born, and another six weeks later, I became a mother; we became parents. Our daughter was, and is, the answer to our prayers for a child. I can't imagine it playing out any other way. If you believe in God, you have to believe in His timing. His ways are past finding out, and they are better than anything we could have planned.



  1. Happy Resurrection Day, Dayle. Lovely reminders amidst the tough situations in life.

  2. Where would we be without hope... Hope that gets us through the hard stuff and the hope of our heavenly home when our journey here is through.

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post.

  3. I'm sure that the time you didn't know how that Easter would stand out for you over the years. Faith, Hope, Love - all here in this post that has touched me more than you'll know.

  4. Some through great heartache
    But God gives a song
    In the night season
    And all the day long.

    Cheers to Easter 1986. We will not forget you for all the good reasons.

  5. That was a great story, Dayle. Poignant, especially because it was true, too.

    That photograph is a breathtaker. WOW WOW WOW That is worth blowing up and framing for sure. FABULOUS.

    Thanks for your visits and comments to my beloved blog---my labor of sheer love.

    I wish you and all your family a most wonderful Easter.

    1. About the photograph, thanks, Susan ... that was right out of the camera, a sunrise in Destin, Florida, October 2009. It's one of my favorites.

  6. Bless you, Dayle, such precious and private memories shared with us. Truly a defining season in your life. But, in pain and loss, doesn't Jesus shine brighter? Glorious Resurrection Weekend to you and yours!

  7. It is a comfort when a marriage houses two christians.
    Bless you both.

  8. You sure has a lot to deal with on that day. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Blessings to you and yours this Easter.

    the French Hutch

  9. Sad...but a beautiful story. Sometimes it is so hard to understand the things we go through but down the road we look back and see how they strengthen us especially with our Heavenly Father holding our hand! Bless you on this Easter Sunday!

    1. Linda, you inspired me to edit and add to this post. Indeed, only six weeks later God showed me what He'd been up to when He sent our beautiful daughter by way of special delivery. His ways are past finding out and always higher than our ways.

  10. Dayle,
    You've written such a tender, heartfelt post. I don't have a family of my own, but I like to remind myself of all that I do have in life. Happy Easter to you.

  11. Yours is such a remarkable, heartfelt memory ... thank you for sharing this slice of your heart!
    Wishing you and your family a very blessed day!

  12. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. His ways are so much higher than ours!

  13. This was wonderful, especially when you followed it with the update. Only recently, God taught me (yet again) about His perfect timing. When we're standing with the tears pouring off the ends of our noses, it's hard to see ahead sometimes. Were it not for Faith, it would be impossible, I think. I'm so grateful for faith.

  14. I'm glad I came back to read what your addition to this post. It's amazing when we can look back see God's working in what seems like such a desolate time. {{hug}}


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle