This is the first time in years my mom and brothers and sisters celebrated on the actual holiday. And it was even more special as my mom has beaten the doctors' first prognosis.
Back in November she was told she had an aggressive form of lung cancer that, left untreated, could mean she had as little as eight weeks' time remaining.
The medical system kicked in and soon she received medical appointments and advice, personal service worker visits, a supply of oxygen, pain medication, water pills, heart pills, chemotherapy, pleurisy treatments, MRIs, CT scans, and more.
Thankfully two of my brothers live with my mother, and my sister is just around the corner, so family is close by. I visit when I can and call to check in almost every day.
My mom chose Expected Death in the Home, or EDITH, as the local health integrated network describes it. She signed the 'do not resuscitate' instructions and a binder was left at the house with guidelines explaining not to call 911 in the event of an emergency.
After two courses of chemo and some strong antibiotics for an infection, she is so much better! She has even been able to drive herself to church a few times, but mostly, the priest and celebrants come to her with communion.
We celebrated Christmas in early December, anticipating she may not have been well enough by the end of the month. Then we celebrated again on Christmas day. And again in January, arranging a party for her 79th birthday. On the eve of her birthday celebration we raised our glasses and made a toast to life.
And here we are, toasting again months later. Easter. Life and rebirth. Spring. Being together and just being, together.
All the siblings brought dishes to the Easter feast. Something for the afternoon groaning board and something for the evening dinner. One of the dishes I made in honour of the occasion was pickled eggs, dyed red by vinegar and cabbage; sliced open they made a colourful sunrise. Bacon-wrapped asparagus was perfect for the buffet, pre-portioned packets easy to serve. Others brought turkey, potatoes, salad, bread, desserts. A communal meal.
My mom has a voracious appetite and enjoyed her food, sampling most everything and savouring each morsel. Eating is one of the true pleasures of life, with family meals reflective of our lives. Holiday meals with family don't always come together the way we hope, but this meal was more than I'd hoped for; one of life's blessings.