This Easter brings with it memories of celebrations past and hopes of an extra special holiday this year.
Growing up, my entire extended family would gather together at my parent’s house and we would have a wonderful lunch. My mom was in charge of the food while my dad was in charge of the Easter egg hunt.
My dad had so much fun hiding the eggs and would cheer us on as we would frantically search for the eggs. Even as teenagers, we would still participate in the annual family Easter egg hunt.
When I grew up and had children, my dad would hide the eggs for them too.
I have also been blessed to spend Easter with my in-laws each year. My kids would also have fun having Easter egg hunts with them as well.
My two daughters and my son searching for the elusive Easter eggs.
The Easter, above, was especially memorable because it was my son’s first Easter celebration. We had just adopted him from China and he couldn’t really walk, so he crawled around to get his Easter eggs. (He has corrective surgery soon after).
The next Easter, he could not only walk, but run with his new braces helping him.
Each year, we spend the Saturday before Easter going on a huge Easter egg hunt, which is put on by the adult community where my in-laws live.
It is always crowded and crazy and the kids just love it – so do my in-laws.
The next day (Easter) is spent with my family, after church is over. The kids get to enjoy the annual Easter egg hunt, that my dad would organize.
The Easter celebration pictured below, is somewhat bittersweet to me.
You see, it is the last one that I got to spend with my dad.
He and my mother had just moved to Arizona from California one month earlier and they were so excited to host Easter at their new house.
It was fun to hang out with family and friends. My nephew was just 4 months old and my oldest daughter was newly engaged.
Sadly, my dad passed away suddenly just 5 weeks later from bacterial meningitis. This is one of the last photos that was taken of him.
Four years later, I still miss him and I always think of how special he made the Easter egg hunts. My husband and the other men of the family have picked up where he left off and hide the eggs for the new generation of kids on Easter Sunday.
This Saturday, I will spend Easter with my in-laws as usual and the kids are very excited about the huge Easter egg hunt at their community.
But this Easter brings sadness with it too. Some of you may remember me mentioning that my father-in-law is battling ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). I guess I shouldn’t say ‘battling’ because there is no cure and it is moving awfully fast.
He has lost his ability to speak, breathing is getting harder, muscle weakness and difficulty eating has made a feeding tube necessary.
I truly hate this horrible disease. But, it cannot take away the wonderful memories we have of our past Easter holidays with him and our ability to celebrate it with him this year.
My wish is that we will be grateful for the time we still have with him and that the memories that we will take from this special day will bring a smile to our face when he is gone.Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."