For so many people and their families who are or have dealt with cancer, it is often difficult to remove yourselves from the daily thoughts about how you are being affected, even if you or the patient receives a “no evidence of disease” test result. No one wants to live in a world where cancer controls your every waking moment but it is often extremely difficult to turn off this thinking, even if it is only for short periods of time. And now with the addition of the coronavirus pandemic around everyone in this community, the fears have grown to even bigger heights. But, even if Easter does not hold a religious meaning for you, there are so many messages that the holiday brings that allow for us to shift our thinking and to make choices to live a new life as I would like to share.
“…letting go of the hardest times in our lives and focusing on hope for the future is what we all deserve to live every day and there is no time like the present to make this happen.”Barbara Jacoby
For those who are Christians, Easter Sunday is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Just as He came back to life, so can we do so on an individual basis by creating a new life for ourselves. Even without a religious connection for anyone, this holiday is observed in the Spring as we watch the rebirth of nature all around us after the stark bareness of Winter. It is the time when life is renewed and there is a difference in the air around us. It seems to me to be the perfect time to clear out the mind and set a new thinking on a focus of enjoying the new beauty all around us.
I didn’t know whether I would ever think about Easter this way again as in 2008, my husband and I found ourselves traveling on that day to attend my brother’s funeral the next day. My brother had died earlier that week on the operating table while undergoing his 12th cancer-related surgery and I was facing my own double mastectomy just a few weeks later. However, when Easter rolled around the next year and I started to think about my brother, I knew that he would never want me to associate such a holiday in any way that wasn’t filled with all of the joy and fun and appreciation that we had shared while growing up.
Therefore, at Easter time, I have found that this is a time of the year that provides the perfect scenario to create a new beginning. It is the time that we open the windows and air out our spaces and this is even more important than ever as we are at home practicing social distancing. We need to do our Spring cleaning and change from the heavy clothing of Winter to our light and bright wardrobes. We need to responsibly head to the great outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and the beauty of nature all around us. And while we are having to make all of these physical changes in our lives, it is the perfect time to clear out the residual focus on cancer and illness and replace our thoughts with gratitude for all the beauty around us and all of the wonderful people that we have in our lives.
Easter is the perfect day to begin these changes. For those who would normally go to church for Easter services, you can participate at home by tuning into a service of your choice on television. There are also all of the holiday traditions that we shared in our family when we were growing up. As children, we would have the opportunity to find all of the candy that the Easter bunny had hidden around the house, culminating in hunting for our Easter baskets. Then we would share an Easter breakfast that included the dyed and decorated hard-boiled eggs from the nest that we had prepared and special Easter breads and a holiday dinner later in the day.
Most importantly, the holiday represented spending time with your family and/or those with whom you are closest. I always liked to renew friendships at this time as well so I usually take some extra time to call those who are special to me with whom I have not had recent contact. This is the time for the renewal and rebirth of everything positive in our lives whether it is something from the past or something brand new for the future. Whether you choose to make your life as close to the good times from the past or if you choose a bright new beginning, letting go of the hardest times in our lives and focusing on hope for the future is what we all deserve to live every day and there is no time like the present to make this happen.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.