Easter and Grieving as a Young Widow


Easter is that time of year where we remember the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even if you aren’t particularly religious or a Christian, its inescapable at this time of year. For those who have lost spouses and are now grieving, it can seem overwhelming, with images and scenes of suffering and grief in popular television shows aired around this time, example, The Ten Commandments. However, these shows also have a very nostalgic effect as they’ve become such a part of our stories, sharing them with family and friends over the years.

On Saturday of the Easter story our loved one is dead. Good Friday represents a day of loss and death, suffering and mourning. At this point in time, there is no foreshadowing of what is to come – what will happen. They are left with more questions than answers and heavy doubt about what their future holds. The presence of grief is also the presence of love. For many young widows, it is the love and loss that makes it overwhelming. How do I go on without my loved one?

There’s a Seder tradition – that of leaving a place at the table for the prophet Elijah. There is faith in his eventual return at the same time that there is acknowledgement of his absence. The empty chair at the table is both lament and expectation. His absence makes a very physical presence.  The story reminds me of Joan Didion’s  – Year of Magical Thinking – in the context of Easter.

For me, Easter is a season of transformation – a time of spiritual self-renewal and rebirth. A time to remember loved ones and the sacrifice that Easter represents. The significance of a risen saviour in the Christian tradition is also on rebirth, celebration and the notion that we can “conquer the grave”. That death isn’t the final marker in our journey and that our loved ones have found rest. Easter Sunday marks the resurrection – new life and renewed hope, and the beginning of a new season of life.

What does Easter mean for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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