It started as a typical Easter weekend. There was a new outfit, frilly dress, white patent leather shoes, white gloves and flowered hat. The Sunday meal was planned.

Good Friday was mysterpaas-easter-egg-color-kit-googie-easter-pinterestious. For reasons not yet clear to us, we were to spend a few hours in church, in total silence.

There was fasting, no meat, but there were eggs…so many eggs.

By evening, we were on board with the celebration.

Enter PAAS…the century-old  egg dye, small tablets activated by white vinegar to produce such lovely color. We were too young to know or care why, we just loved the ritual.

My grandmother presided. A devout Catholic, immigrant from Prague, she loved Easter. We felt her joy.

Sometime during the cleanup, she excused herself, and took to the living room sofa, claiming she felt a bit tired.

She never woke up. Cardiac arrest. Age 57.

Chaos ensued. Our mom was quickly dispatched from her job at Bell Telephone. Grandma was gone by the time she arrived.

Our dad sat in shock. He adored his mother. He had supported her in every way imaginable since the age of 12, when his own father vacated their lives.

We were the three daughters whose world was forever changed; aged 8, 6 and 8 months.

We were losing our real mom, and about to meet our biological one. It would not go well.

For many years that followed, I had a strange, visceral reaction to the smell of vinegar. It took me a while to realize why.

This was to be healed. When my children came along, I embraced the egg dye ritual of Good Friday.

Strangely enough, white vinegar became a staple in my home. Today, it is my go-to cleaning remedy.

I don’t dwell on the sadness of this day. She is so vivid in my memory. She raised me. She was my greatest influence in those developing years.  I aspire to have so many of her qualities and values. She was an amazingly strong, devoted and loving human being.

I just wish I’d had her in my life longer. I carry her spirit with me, with love in my heart.

Wishing you all a happy and blessed holiday.   Van

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135 Responses to Easter

  1. *HUGS* A beautiful tribute to your grandma Van. Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend. ❤
    Diana xo

  2. nimi naren says:

    Beautiful…Happy Easter weekend.

  3. Phyllis says:

    Friendship hugs to comfort, Van and Diana. Holidays wear the ‘comedy-tragedy’ mask for many of us, don’t they? Beautiful memories that we want to hold always are wrapped in a package of mutable emotion. Joy in the season…

  4. mandy smith says:

    Why do sad things so often happen on or around holidays so that that is what the holiday really means to us? Your grandmother sounds like mine. Mine died of a heart attack at 58–she is one of the few good memories I have of childhood. Hang on to her love of the day, Van, feel her joy. ❤

    • Thanks, Mandy. I surely will. ☺ I went to a lot of religious devotions on Good Friday over the years; always bringing me to tears. Folks most likely thought I was passionate and deeply religious…I was just sad.

  5. Another lovely post. It brings to mind all those that touched my life and are no longer here to celebrate the year’s milestones. Happy Easter to you.

  6. Angie Mc says:

    What a treasure your grandmother is, Van. Good Friday is a day of bittersweet recollection. I’ll think of you and your grandmother fondly as we die our Easter eggs today ❤

  7. LaVagabonde says:

    It’s said that smells stay with us more than any other sensory memory. I’m glad you were able to heal and feel the spirit of Easter again. Wishing you a glorious holiday, Van.

  8. gluestickmum says:

    If I were to get a choice as to how to go it would be as quickly as possible after doing something I enjoyed. 57 is so young though.

  9. Sarah says:

    That’s a touching tribute, she died young though.

  10. April says:

    My grandmother passed away on good Friday. She died at age 77, and I spent every weekend at her house. She was my home away from home.

  11. A wonderful tradition most families have around this time of year. Beautiful tribute to your grandmother. A virtual hug! Happy Easter.

  12. Val Boyko says:

    A beautiful post full of love ❤ As I tell myself, we all have a piece of our grandmothers in our genes. She is in you too Van. 😊

  13. The V Pub says:

    It’s a beautiful, yet bittersweet story, Van. I think that everything in life happens for a reason. If one thing doesn’t happen, the entire life trajectory changes for ever. Thanks for sharing this and Happy Easter.

  14. Your grandmother sounds like she was a wonderful force in your life. I’m sorry you lost her so young and glad you were able to continue her Easter tradition. A lovely way to honor her. Have a Happy Easter. ❤

  15. Ron Walker says:

    That was beautiful. Easter smells still bring memories to me. I think most kids immediately remember that name on the packages sitting on the kitchen counter, PAAS.

  16. Oh such a beautiful poignant tribute. I am glad you had such a lovely support in your young life. Isn’t it strange how smells evoke memories…Happy Easter.😍

  17. This was a most beautiful while being a most poignant read Van.. Your Grandmother exiting this world far too early… And no wonder this day held so vivid within your memory..
    Its strange isn’t it just how a fragrance can hold such a vivid memory… When ever I smell pipe tobacco of a certain brand.. I am instantly transported back to my Granddad.. Also Tar Soap is a memory from my grandparents home..

    Sending you love and Blessings Van.. Have a wonderful Easter my friend..
    Love and Hugs
    Sue xx

  18. Erika Kind says:

    I can very well imagine what a trauma that must have been for the young child you were and of course it accompanies you for a long time. Much too young and completely unexpected at a celebration weekend meant to be fun and joy. For sure a trauma!

  19. The words are straight from your heart and really touched me. This is a lovely tribute to a strong, adorable, genuine human being- your grandma….

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  21. joey says:

    Amazing post. Smell is so deeply evocative. I am glad you replaced your bad vinegar memories with happy ones.

    I didn’t get the email for this. I shall subscribe again. Is the third time the charm, you think?

  22. Van
    The Staler Alert kicked my Survivors skills into action, I’m out of bed and pushing hard to put pieces back. You’ve been my rock and I can’t thank you enough. Something is weird at WP & home, I’m going to reblog for a couple of days your post to see remotely related to Stalker/s, if you don’t mind.
    While to sick to make changes my I started sending my em to the Cloud in a frenzy-part of mail issues.
    I am a Survivor and will push/not give up on myself no matter the pain. I will not let a Stalker/s control me, 20 yrs ago had a serious Stalker for 6 yrs-I’m older and smarter when Surviving such a load.
    Miss talking, may take WP & myself to have a clear answer on what is happening with sites and correct.
    Can you do me a favor when you can-glace at my personal Blog and Survivors, I want honest feedback if something makes you go mmmm…something looks differ.
    You are a great friend and I need an anchor until I can find others to trust-I’ve need several perspectives!

  23. Nurse Kelly says:

    Such a beautiful and poignant post, Van, as well as a reminder of the fragility of life. I will think of you this weekend. Happy Easter to you and your family. xoxo

  24. Lady G says:

    Very touching Van. She was entirely too young to go. There is the comfort in knowing that she left on a holiday that she loved and cherished her whole lifetime. 🌹

  25. vinnieh says:

    This is a beautifully moving tribute, sending you much love and support.

  26. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Aw, Van, I am covered in goosebumps. I too lost my Grandmother at a young age, age 7. She like you was the only realy source of Love for me. Her death changed my life forever. OH how my Heart goes out to you. Good for you for keeping the ritual alive regarding dying the eggs in your life today. BIG (((HUGS))) and so Much Love!!! Happy Easter, dear friend! ❤

  27. Glad that you had your Grandmother in your formative years. Sorry that you lost her when you, your siblings, and she herself were so young. Strikes me as metaphoric that she died on Good Friday. Believe that she lives on in you, that her love lives on.

  28. Aw Van… I’m so sorry. Your shock radiates through your words. No matter how long ago, some hurts are still fresh. Even though the vinegar scent was at first a bad thing for you, it’s marvelous that you’ve transformed it, with the egg coloring, into something that is once again celebratory. Wishing you joy. Mega hugs.

  29. Ipuna Black says:

    Van, I am so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. What a special person she was. She was young. 😦

    Happy Easter. ❤️

  30. Lisa A. says:

    I’m sorry about your grandmother, Van. I’m pretty close to my grandmother so I can relate to this. Happy Easter. 💐🌷🐇

  31. Obviously, her passing had a powerful influence on you, Van. However, it sounds like her love for you had an even greater effect.

  32. dgkaye says:

    Beautiful tribute to your grandma, Van. Sorry for your loss, even so many years ago. I hope your Easter was lovely. ❤

  33. So beautiful Van! A lovely and sweet tribute! She would be so proud xx

  34. Steph McCoy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely story Van. Grandmas are the best!! This took me back to Easter rituals when I was young and my grandma was still with us. Good times.

  35. A wonderful tribute Van and must have been a huge shock.. you say 57 and I think about how I am 7 years older and I still feel young.. sorry you did not have in your lives for longer.. love and hugs Sally

    • The late 50’s were a bit of a challenge, Sally. I lost my mother at 53. I should have celebrated the 60th in a big way. Like you, I feel young at heart. It makes all the difference. Thanks. 💘

  36. Bernadette says:

    A post filled with heartache and love. It is amazing how smells conjure up memories.

  37. Ann Koplow says:

    A beautiful post! Thank you.

  38. Just checking in on you Van as I do a few rounds this evening.. Hope all is well.. And you are having a wonderful week so far.. Love and Blessings
    Sue ❤ xxx

  39. Wonderful… Happy Easter end of the week..

  40. A beautiful and moving post to your beloved grandmother. She sounds lovely. I hope your Easter was nice, Van. 💗🌸

  41. amommasview says:

    A big hug for you xoxo

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  43. I love this story. Your grandmother sounds like a treasure.

  44. amommasview says:

    Hey Van, how are you?

  45. Tracey says:

    Hi Van,

    I check in here occasionally and always love your stories and perspective on life. I had forgotten to comment on this post back when I read it, that it was very touching, and my heart goes out to you.

    I hope that you are well. 💕

  46. Eli Pacheco says:

    Like life, this story was honest and complex. I believe we have to go through a process in which things we associate, even subconsciously, with a life-altering event go from reviled to welcomed. It’s also how her legacy continues, through you and yours.

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