On Pascha we blessed the graves in the cemetery attached to our church, which includes our baby Elijah’s. Due to various circumstances, I had never done this before. I wasn’t prepared and in my tired, hormone filled state, I simply wanted to weep. It was hard and right, painful and healing, tragic and beautiful.
We went to each grave, singing “Christ is Risen,” the priest blessing it with holy water. If a family member of the person buried was present, the priest (my father) would exchange a greeting with them. If non-Orthodox, “Glory to Jesus Christ”. If Orthodox, Christ is Risen three times, the response being “Indeed He is Risen!” There are few graves in our young cemetery, and there were only two to bless before we got to Elijah’s. My husband and I were both crying before we even got there. My father faced us, with tears in his eyes and said, “Christ is Risen.” As best we could, we sputtered out the response each time.
Although I always remember him, I don’t often go down that road in my heart. It’s a road with much healing, but one that is still tender and painful if I walk down far enough. On Pascha I was transplanted quickly to the raw part of the road. It’s a place I haven’t been to in quite some time. And yet, as I said, it was right and good and healing.
Pascha of 2015, not quite a year after we had lost him, I wept also. As soon as the priest proclaimed “Christ is Risen!” I broke down. All I could think was, “Christ is risen, but my baby is still dead.” A weak, worldly thought, I know. My baby is dead, here on earth, yes, but alive in Christ, forever. My blind heart fails to see the reality of this. And the joy.
Since losing him, I’ve been blessed with another child. Now another is on the way, but I will never feel complete without him in my life. And yet, none of us are complete, until we are truly united to Christ in the life to come. It’s such a reminder to me to seek Christ, not my child. To find my fullness in Him, not another person. To find my joy in the truth of the Resurrection of Christ.