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Life Chez Dee Episode #60: Easter, new life and Edward

It's been a strange few weeks, and Easter is no exception. No build up to the school holidays as Oliver has been schooled at home; holidays too have been cancelled or postponed; no jetting off somewhere, or packing of bags as we load up the car for a long motorway journey to our holiday cottage; no day trips planned for walks, museums, city visits, or visits to National Trust houses and gardens that we love so much. Visits to all these beautiful places put on hold, added to our to do list, which we keep whilst we wait for lockdown to lift.

Easter, the fact that not only did God send his only son to die for us, as atonement for our sins; but that Jesus rose from the dead; resurrected to eternal life, promising that whoever shall believe in him shall have eternal life too. Probably the most significant and important time of year in the church calendar, and yet churches, normally packed with parishioners coming together to worship, are empty. Churches, along with so many others, having to find new ways of working, new ways of reaching people, relying on virtual means to get their message to the people. Technology, again a godsend in these difficult times.

We’ve done plenty of Religious Education in School Chez Dee this week; our new life of homeschooling. We talked about the Easter Story, starting at the beginning with Palm Sunday, continuing with Good Friday, and finishing with Easter Sunday. We’ve made palms, and we’ve painted rabbits and chicks on Easter cards. They’re very cute these rabbits and chicks, but there is a significance to why they’re used in our Easter images; they, along with the eggs, represent new life.

So too is there lots of new life in the garden, with so many of the trees coming into blossom, including the beautiful cherry tree in our garden, which invariably is in full bloom around the time of Edward's birthday. Not having been to the shops for a few days, I thought I'd get some fresh Easter flowers from our garden, and so I cut some of the cherry blossom for my vase. The weather has been glorious this weekend, and as such we've spent lots of time in the garden. I’ve been weeding and tidying, and Justin has been busy building, painting and titivating stuff in the garden. Benches have been sanded and painted (although this job is now in lockdown due to us running out of paint); the back wall has been given another lick of paint, so too has the shed; and a new wooden compost bin has been built at my request.

We have eggs galore in our house, and quite honestly enough to open up a shop. I’d already bought Easter Eggs before lockdown came (there’s organisation for you), and I did buy mum and dad a couple which I delivered to them when I took their shopping which I’m doing for them. Oliver wanted an Easter egg hunt in the garden, which was rather funny, since the cat found the eggs quicker than he did. I'm thinking we should nurture this talent; how great would it be to have a cat who can sniff out chocolate.

Our Easter theme continued in the garden this weekend with the delivery of a lovely Easter Island concrete statue which I bought from the lads at SteWay. I’d got just the spot for it to go, where I’d previously had a figurine, which had met its end when it got bashed by the window cleaner’s ladders. I was chatting (at a social distance) to Stephen and Wayne, telling them about this, and they reassured me that this wouldn’t break if it got knocked over … well if it does it will be stuck together again and we’ll have an Easter Island 3D jigsaw completed and on display. I love it; it’s rather quirky; and rather appropriate I’d say being installed in our garden this weekend. Easter Island, named as such as it was discovered on Easter Day … only it wasn’t really discovered then was it, since the statues were already there!

William missed the morning’s shenanigans and didn’t surface until the afternoon. I wished him a Happy Easter, but couldn’t resist a quick “He is risen! Alleluia!” ... no offence intended, just a well timed pun which I thought funny.

It was such a beautiful day, and both myself and Justin were busy doing all sorts of jobs in the garden, of course this was another opportunity for the boys to get on gadgets whilst we were distracted. Wii has suddenly had another revival, which to be honest is rather nice, since they’ve been playing this together, rather than all their other usual games which see them in separate rooms. It’s lovely seeing them playing various sports with the characters they’ve created, and that Edward is still there – and indeed still holds the record on some of the games. It really is quite uncanny how realistic Justin and my dad are on there. I definitely need to organise a caricature being drawn of these two … they’ve obviously got features easy to animate.

Our day finished with pot roast beef. I'd decided to use the slow cooker instead of roasting in the oven; popped in some whole carrots, and some sliced onions. By doing this, it allowed us all to enjoy the day outside, rather than slaving over a hot stove. All I needed to do was parboil some potatoes and parsnips, and bung in the oven to roast with a smattering of oil. Normally I would make a cake for any occasion, let alone Easter, but we’d been a bit caked out of late, and I thought given that we’d also be a bit chocolated out too, that I’d leave making a cake, and we had apple crumble instead.

Easter Sunday ended in a palaver when Oliver dropped a can of coke all over the lounge carpet … again! And so the mopping up began, several tea towels, one kitchen roll, a bottle of carpet shampoo, and a rant later, we managed to resume some peace and tranquillity to the evening. Sorry came by way of a cup of tea brought to me and Justin in bed the following morning, which thankfully he managed to carry up the stairs without spillage!

This time of year is another which is tinged with sadness too. All the celebrations, holidays, bunnies and chocolate; all this talk of new life ... Edward isn’t here. Not for Easter, and not for his 14th birthday, which is fast approaching. On the day Edward died, our family began a new life ... very different to the new life we think of generally these springtime holidays. Our son died, bringing to life the enormity of the Easter story. Edward's birthday is still marked by us, just in a very different way to if Edward were here. We would perhaps have a day out, a walk, a gathering – something to make the day is special. We’d visit him too; taking flowers and cards; sitting with him for a while, and chatting through our thoughts.

Edward should be here, and every day without him is hard, but without him, his birthday feels totally wrong. The pain is still there, a wound which never heals fully, which opens and oozes, hurting and aching; and today we will again hurt. This year we won’t be able to visit Edward’s grave which is sad, and I can feel already an ache in my heart just thinking about this. We will get through the day, together, and we will mark the day again in our own special way; we will walk, and talk, and remember.

It would be so lovely if people would help us to make his birthday special. Those who can sew, or knit, or crochet, please make #TreesforEdward; those who are feeling artistic could paint #StonesforEdward.

Let’s all play A Song for Edward. If you haven’t bought this song, please do so … it’s available on all music platforms. If you’ve already bought it … buy it again … it’s only about a quid, or go to the bandcamp page, or the charity page and make a donation. If you have Spotify, get this in your playlist. Let’s all play A Song for Edward on 15th April.

And whilst you’re all on lockdown, let’s get those of you who are musically gifted to play it, sing it, or even cover it … put your own spin on it … and let me hear it.

There are so many ways you could help The Edward Dee Fund too, even whilst you’re in lockdown as well as painting trees and painting stones. Of course, we need to support the NHS but let’s not forget the small charities, or even the little charities like this one, who will go under without support. Why not sign up to support The Edward Dee Fund with Amazon Smile or easyfundraising, which won’t cost you a penny, and will help enormously with just one extra click by you when you shop. Just little things like this are of enormous value to the charity.

And so Edward is with us; always with us; in our thoughts and our hearts; and living on in all the work we do in his name to raise awareness and support so many projects in our community.

I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about Edward, which you may wish to read, and you may wish to share.

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