Thoughts on Death and Easter Lilies

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Timehop has been kind of a cool thing. It’s a relatively new app that lets you look back over the last 5-7 years of your social media history. I don’t know whether to be proud or embarrassed that I’ve been on Facebook as long as it’s been around. My college was one of the early ones let into the madness and I was a fast addict. Everyday, Timehop gives me a rundown of the past several years of posts that I’ve shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But as April has rolled around, I’ve been reminded of the terrifying rollercoaster that was my dear friend Christie’s battle with brain cancer. So many good MRI scans, so many unclear reports, so many calls for prayer, so many little victories, so many high hopes and so many low lows. Christie was diagnosed in April 2011 and passed away at age 27 in February 2013. Reading those old posts has in a way been like walking through those times all over again. I obviously think about her everyday, anyway. Everything still relates back to her and so many of my memories of the last 13 years of my life involve times with her.

I came across an article that warmed my heart as I’ve been seeing April through a new (or…old) lens, this year in Timehop. It’s about placing importance on remembering the dead and keeping their memory alive. I often feel like I shouldn’t talk about Christie as much now that it’s been a year. I sometimes wonder if it’s weird for people when I say her name and refer to her as if she’s still around. (I believe she is still around–but that’s another blog post.) I loved what the author of this article said:

“Death is a cyclical reality in all communities, and often families are forced to travel the grieving journey alone. After his young son died, a close friend of mine said, “Pretty soon Isaac will fade from most people’s memory. And any future children we have will never know him. Instead they will associate him with times of the year when Mom and Dad are sad—his birthday, the day he died, and Mother’s and Father’s Day.” My friend was not only grieving the loss of Isaac; he was also grieving the loss of his memory in the community.” 

“Poppy’s father said, “I am afraid to lose the pain over Poppy’s death, because pain is the only connection I have to her.” His words reflect a deep truth about our Christian faith. They are words of protest against the forces of death that had extinguished Poppy’s life and now threatened to take her memory as well.”

I’ve often wondered if one day I’ll stop telling stories about Christie to people who never knew her. But, I don’t think I ever will. I don’t want to. I want people who never had a chance to meet her to know about her, and I want the people who knew her (and just sort-of knew her) to never forget her.

Seriously, that article is great. So many truth nuggets. If you’ve lost someone close to you, give it a read.

The last thing I’ll pull from the article to share with you is a quote from N.T. Wright, one of my favorite theologians.

“In the weeks leading up to Easter, churchgoers are invited to bring lilies into the sanctuary as a way to remember their loved ones with ‘grief, gratitude and Christian hope.’ As the lilies tangibly call to mind those who have died, the worship practice makes space for grief and hope to reside together, leading our longings to stretch out for the Resurrection. Practices like this usher the believing community into a healthy memory of the dead.”

So, this year, I’m excited to be able to do something for Christie. (I constantly feel like I’m looking for things I can do for her…there are so few things these days!) I can bring her an Easter lily. I know she’ll receive it. And it’ll let her know that I’m keeping her memory alive.

Who can you bring an Easter lily to, this year? Who will you remember, this Easter?

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Death and Easter Lilies

  1. Thank you Andrea. This is exactly how we feel about Christie. We want to remember her every day. And even if our eyes well up when you are talking to us about her, it is all right. Keep talking. It reminds us of the importance of her presence here on earth and of the power of love. Memories allow us to carry on with a spirit of hope and thanksgiving.

    I was wondering who left the Easter lily for her.

    1. Thanks so much, Lori. 🙂 I will ALWAYS tell stories about her and I love talking about her with the Brinks. 🙂 I did leave the lily, but it keeps falling over…maybe that wind will die down sooner or later. 🙂

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