By Kathie Lipinski

With Easter Sunday fast approaching I am reminded that after Christmas and Thanksgiving, Easter is one of my favorite holidays…perhaps even more meaningful than the others.

Easter has always been a special time for me… getting my driver’s license just before Easter, getting engaged for Easter, the birth of our first son just before Easter…and I could go on and go. New beginnings and Easter seem to go hand in hand for me.

Our Easter brunches with Aunt Margie and our extended family were always special; being with family that we loved and enjoyed and sharing favorite dishes meant so much. My mother always made her famous crumb cake, a tradition that I continue to this day, and have shared with many.

The first Easter after my mom passed was particularly hard for me, as both parents were now deceased before I reached the age of 40. I remember driving to my husband’s parents’ house upstate NY and being sad missing my mom. When we arrived, I immediately noticed something sitting on top of the breakfront. My mother-in-law, Ida, had made the exact same crumb cake as my mom’s! It was covered in plastic wrap and on the top was a little piece of paper with the simple words “for Kathie” on it. I smiled to myself and knew that my mom was reaching out to me from the other side to say hello and to let me know that love continues, just in a different form.

Easter is symbolic of rebirth and new beginnings and I am reminded of that as we move forward navigating this new world post COVID. This year we will spend time with part of my family for Easter (my husband and I are fully vaccinated); not all that I would like to, but more than enough to remind me of what is most important in life…. love, family, and friends. I have always known that, but this past year, being separated from my sons and their families, has been challenging. Whenever I did have the chance to see them and could touch “safely”…I would ask for a good 20 second hug, which releases oxytocin…the hormone of bonding. I remember when they were in college, I would always ask for a big hug before they left, to “fill up my bank account” to hold me over until I saw them next. Thankfully, that “ritual” has continued.

Last night I stayed up to watch the Tina Turner documentary about the story of her life. I was familiar with it since I had seen the movie “What’s love got to do with it” years ago. Tina always inspired me, and her story is a symbol of rebirth; after enduring many years of horrific physical and emotional abuse, she left her husband Ike and reinvented herself. Interestingly, the only thing she asked for in the divorce was to keep her name…Tina Turner…. even though it was Ike who had given her that name as they began their music career. The old Tina Turner “died” and was reborn into a new and more expansive version of herself.

This week before Easter is a special time to reflect on what needs to “die” or be released from your life so that the new can be born. This past year, being quarantined in our tiny place, has provided me a lot of time to reflect upon what needs to change or be reborn or reinvented in my life. This week, as I remember how symbolic Easter is for me, I long to give birth to a healthier and more expanded version of myself…and that is part of the reason I began blogging.

Part of this reflective time has reinforced in me the importance of not taking the people I care about for granted. It reminded me to savor each moment and to live in the present, making the most of each day, knowing that things can change in an instant. I am reminded to tell people AND show them how I feel about them as…

“Love is the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love.”

This is a favorite quote of mine from high school days from the book “The Art of Loving” by philosopher and psychoanalyst Erick Fromm.

To me, love is active…it is a noun and a verb….it is not just telling someone you love them…it is showing them by your actions no matter how big or small. It is not about gifts per se, but the gift of your time and energy that lets them know you are thinking of them, you value them, and care about them.

Because in the end it is always about love…the love for self and love for others…that gives meaning and value to our lives.

In these last few days before Easter, take time to reflect on what needs to be let go of in your life so that you can be reborn into a new and more expansive version of yourself. Give yourself the gift of unconditional love as you move through the process.