When Paska and telephone poles saved Easter

When paska and telephone poles saved Easter / an inspiring story on learning to be ok without those you love during special holidays / funkyjunkinteriors.net
For the most part, when a special day comes across the calendar, I’m ok with it.

Things are just different without your parents still around. 

I’ll admit, I still have to tough out Christmas in a big way. But the rest of the holidays, I think I do ok.

Anyway, this Easter didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. Just a buncha stuff to deal with didn’t put my frame of mind in a truly positive light.

But determined to somehow flip a bunch of negatives into a positive, my boy and I head into our little town to try and make the most of it. We planned to pick up some candy for our ‘easter egg basket hunt, like my mom use to do’.

And that’s when we made a pit stop at the local deli first.

We were really there to pick up cold cuts and buns, the usual fare. And maybe for a treat, we’d add a couple of long johns lavishly stuffed with whipping cream. It WAS Easter after all. (not that we need that excuse…)

And that’s when my eyes landed on…

Paska Easter bread

THEM.

There were two behind the glass case. It was nearly closing time, and with a 2 day closure ahead, those two needed a good home. Ours!

Paska is a sweet bread, spread with icing and sprinkles on top. I love it sliced thick, and slathered with butter. I’m uncertain which origin it’s from, but my parents have a German background, so I’ll just say that.

This treat has been a long standing tradition my mom religiously baked every year. As I’ve been watching my family on Facebook make their own, I was feeling like I should make the effort too, if I wanted in.

But… I just couldn’t do it. When I’m blue, I don’t want to go searching for flour, let alone spend a few hours doing what’s needed. (I’d rather bike ride… ya think?!)

But this find changed everything.

When I was handed the paska, it was as if the gentle hand that extended it said,

“This wasn’t made by your mom, but it was homemade by someone with a heart big enough to share. Today, they are sharing this with you. Go make your Easter special, in new ways!”

Fighting back stinging tears, I paid for the paska, feeling as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning!

And with much lighter steps, we promptly head to the store to also pick up goodies for our egg hunt.

Mountain view with train tracks and telephone poles during golden hour
Mountain view with train tracks and telephone poles during golden hour

The next day, I took a bike ride up the mountain. Just a short one. And I certainly didn’t time it that way, but it appeared that the sun was about to set soon! How perfect. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tote some coffee along…

clouds during sunset against a deep blue sky

As I found my special spot on the mountain where I like to sit and gaze over the little valley we live in, my eyes swept to the left, where two telephone poles stood against the setting sun.

But, they didn’t appear to be just telephone poles this time.

It felt like another sign.

It was if the poles resembled crosses, and the full out message became abundantly clear.

The telephone poles during a sunset that resembled crosses on Easter

“You can have everything you had before. It will be different, but it can also be even better! You can forge forward with new traditions you’ve created yourself. You are indeed cared for, and are being watched over. You aren’t alone with this. Now go make Easter special, in YOUR own unique way.”

I had been wanting to Periscope my paska message the day before, but I couldn’t bring myself to remain unemotional enough, so I let it go. But the telephone poles totally did me in.

Fighting back tears, I bravely picked up my phone, and attempted to Periscope one last time…

Friends, I truly hope you had a lovely Easter. No matter who you were or were not with…

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  1. I haven’t made it to that point yet. I lost my dad, tomorrow, will be 4 months ago. Thanksgiving and Christmas was a cry fest for all of us and Easter….well just non existant. I miss my dad to my core, and nothing will ever be the same without him. I know it all will be better, and I know he is with Jesus and that sustains me, until we see him again!! I know how you feel. Love and prayers for you and your family!! Rhonda

  2. Oh Donna, hugs out to you. I wonder if holidays will ever feel special again. My mom and dad gone and other loved ones far away in miles and emotional distance. And then I feel guilty because I have so much to be thankful for. I miss happy, oblivious and stress free holidays. But oh my God, thank you for those telephone poles! If you can ever doubt that there is a God, he answers in a big way. And you know, Donna, your mom and dad and Jesus were probably working on this together to produce such serendipity. Can you picture it? ‘Okay, here she comes. Let’s cast the light this way and if I know my daughter, she’ll see those poles and it’ll speak to her heart.’ We can’t see them, but oh see us and give us gifts if we will only listen. I look upon it as your parents and God giving you an Easter gift. I have been blessed by such gifts and love it! So again, wish I could give you a hug. Know that you are not alone and are blessed and when given a chance pass that knowledge on to someone in need of it and you’ll be doubly blessed. Take care and thanks so much for sharing. So glad to get to know you!

  3. So touching! I,too, find those signs, if you will, reminding me that my life will be different without my parents but that my life is a testament to their values and beliefs. It’s hard but memories get me through. Those telephone poles….pass the tissues!

  4. Bless your heart dear Donna. Thank you for sharing this with your viewers/readers.

    This was my 4th Easter without my dear husband. The grief isn’t as raw, and I miss him daily, but life goes on. I feel his love and God’s love surrounding me and am thankful for each new day I am blessed with. I know he is with Jesus and that gives me joy and peace. We do have to make our own new traditions, creating new joys and sharing love with others in many ways.

    We don’t have our loved ones with us physically, but they are still in our thoughts and hearts.

    I’m so glad the Paska was right there for you. That was a ‘gift’. Seeing those two ‘crosses’ was a nice reminder of God’s love too.

    Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

  5. Holidays/special occasions are different without our loved ones but we carry on (or not). Memories are wonderful and keep us going. Hugs.

  6. What a great message for us all! My parents have been gone 20+ years and it is still hard without them on these special days. It is a strange feeling to be without your parents; who will guide me or where do I share special thoughts?
    We and you will create your own for sure. What you remember of your parents and their traditions for you on special days will carry over and be inter-twined with your new traditions. It all gets carried forward. This Easter, I was so thrilled to have a new born great grandson, only 5 days old at our family dinner. How special is that.
    Hugs to you..it is OK to be sad but those memories are what keeps us all grounded in tradition.
    Loved the photos. Your job is to carry on!

  7. Dear Donna,
    You are not alone. This was my second Easter without my mother. She always made every holiday special. My grandmother was German and always made stollen, a German sweet bread with raisins and candied fruit and icing on the top. We always heated our slices and put butter on the hot treat. My mother took on the tradition at Easter and Christmas. I am no good in the kitchen, so I buy mine at the local bakery.
    Easter would be very melancholy for me also but I now put together Easter baskets for the family of the wonderful woman who took care of my mother the last five years of her life. She is now my sister. She treated my mother like her own and made my mom’s last years happy and full of love. And my mother adored her! Her family is not as financially blessed as ours and it makes my heart full to be able to give rather than receive, as I did as a child.
    It brightens my holidays to pay it forward and I realize that I am taking my mother’s place now that she is gone.
    I love that you are making a great life for you and your son as a single woman. I too am divorced and living a full life and creating a family for myself by love now, not by blood!
    Love to you and all whom you love at Easter! Elizabeth

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this post. It is OK! I lost my dad 3 years 6 months ago. I miss him ! The rest of my family is in another state. Mom had colon cancer surgery last November and she is doing well. The photos are so beautiful. Take care.

  9. 10 years without my mom and 1st without my dad. Traditions got lost to me, for reasons to long to tell why, but oh, how I would love to start some new ones.
    Thanks for sharing and being real. My tears were shed from your post, now to get on with a new day 🙂 all the best! Sun is shining this morning, snow is still lingering. To cool for biking…yet, but a long walk is in order later.

  10. Hi Donna.I have sent you notes occasionally, saying that if I lived in the flats where you do, I know that we would be friends..I have a sister in law in Chilliwack, parents in Yarrow, sister in Abbotsford..Your stories always strike a cord with me, be it your creativity, or your personal ones, like the paska story..I made several batches of paska, and gave most away..Some day I will meet you, and encourage you personally, but for now, another thing came through to me in your story..you saw the crosses, which leads me to believe that you once, or perhaps still do have a faith in Jesus..That, my friend, is your answer..not people, or hurts received from Christians, but Jesus..keep your eyes on Him,, and re-kindle that spiritual side..I think it’s missing for you, and I KNOw He fills that void..be encouraged.

    • I’ve just read this 4 days after Easter and what an impact your comments and those of all the others made on me! Wow! Had to keep wiping away the tears. This Easter, I woke up feeling so sad and bereft, with a great sense of loss. My mom is in heaven, and my dad is 98 and in a nursing home in another state. My son and his family are far away in another state. I have my precious husband and am so thankful for him, but, still I miss things the way they were with all the family together. I began to wonder if “The Good Days” were all gone. I just prayed that God would send something good this Easter. Just some little special thing to encourage my heart. Out of the blue, our son just up and called us Easter evening. He calls for lots of special occasions, but never has at Easter. It was so good to hear his voice, and when I told him that we had been feeling lonely and a little discouraged, he asked if we minded if he prayed for us. Right there on the phone! It was such a dear prayer and comforted us so much. The Lord is still here and He is listening. He loves us. I think that is the true meaning of Easter, isn’t it? Bev

  11. Easter was not a happy time for my household. On Good Thursday I lost one of my brothers. My daughter for the second year in a row could not visit with her parents. A totally empty hollow feeling came over me. We are without both sets of parents and nothing is the same. I try to find the joy but it is illusive but your video helped some this Monday morning. Thank you for that.

  12. God bless you for your message to all. Parents and siblings missing on holidays are remind me of how fragile life is. I think of them and the wonderful times together, shed a few tears, pray for strength, and know it will be a cherished memory I can recall at any time. I’ve learned to accept their absence and focus on my children and grandchildren and the present. It was sad not to be able to celebrate Easter yesterday because the flu swept through my family in an untimely way. We are looking forward to having it this coming Sunday though. Memories in the making waiting to happen for my family to have of me when I’m gone is how I try to make the most of my days with them. I give the past its due and focus on what I want for my dear ones to remember about me when I’m no longer her to share stories and traditions from my youth. I’ve been a long time follower of your blog and hardly ever leave comments. I want to thank you for all your hard work putting together each and every post for our enjoyment.

  13. Donna,
    Thank you for sharing what is in your heart , I too lost both of my parents and I know exactly what you are feeling,believe me, you are NOT alone in this journey called life,we are being loved and watched over and the signs are there for those that look hard enough! There is a butterfly that flutters by my kitchen window and then lands on the apple tree and just takes a rest there for about 5 minutes and I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, that ,day after day of seeing this same ritual,my mom is letting me know that she is happy and free now and still watching over me. I can’t tell you what that does for my hurting soul,it lifts me up so much that I feel ready to take on the day and be creative! Something inside you told you to make that trip at sunset because those telephone poles were just waiting to be seen by you,a special message to you and there will be many more,I’m sure. 🚴
    Enjoy your day today and look for extraordinary in the ordinary !
    Linda

  14. Happy Easter Donna and I love your story. My Mom passed away 13 years ago and the holidays are still hard, but I’ve managed to form my own, like you are talking about. We just keep trying! ((Hugs))

  15. The telephone poles are awesome and scrolling through your photos before reading your message, I saw them as crosses too.

    Your post definitely hit the spot for me. Mom and hubby are long gone. Dad and his “new” family don’t celebrate Easter that I’m aware of.

    I wanted to tell a church-mate “Happy Easter” but she and her husband ran out the door the minute the sermon was over. I imagined yesterday that most people were home eating Easter dinner with their family except me.

    I made the best of it. I worked on my backyard tinkering with plants and garden “art.” I called a couple of friends and I thanked God for what he HAS given me.

    Now, if you could just hand a Paska through the screen! Yum!

    • Hahha oh trust me, there is NO such thing as having too much paska on hand! Notice the photo showed a fraction of what was purchased? I could not wait even for a picture to be taken! 🙂

      I’m glad you found a way to make peace through gardening. That’s just good for the soul! My soul healing generally involves hoping on a plane for somewhere exciting… a tad more expensive I might add!

  16. I spend my holidays with my son’s and families or by myself. My parents passed away quite a few years ago. You need to make some new traditions Donna for you and your son , have a great week!

  17. Thank you, Donna. I, too, have lost both of my parents. I usually do well on holidays, for the most part. Especially with my kids around. But when they’re with their Dad, like they were yesterday, I have a harder time feeling like things are “normal.” Truth is, they aren’t. But I have done my best to make a new normal, much like you in this post. Even still, it can be difficult. Thank you for sharing your heart <3

  18. Friday my vehicle had to go into the shop and they informed me Saturday late in the afternoon that they would not have it finished until Monday late. So I missed the special services at my church Friday and Saturday evening as well as Easter Sunday. My whole weekend was shot, as it rained and hailed and was windy!
    I could not get a ride from the 2 friends who attend my church (only phone #;s I had) as they were out of the state! So I prayed and made the best of my day reading, watching an inspirational movie, and doing artsy stuff.
    Pastors sermons are videotaped so I can still see it.

  19. Oh my gosh Donna, I’m just seeing this now! Can hardly type for tears. As soon as I saw the photo of the two telephone poles I immediately thought of crosses and then I read further. Sending hugs from one Province over, a little late but hey, who couldn’t use a hug any day.

    My Easter was a very sad and challenging one this year too. Lost my Dad 11 years ago and lost my Mom (even though she is still alive) to Alzheimers and all that remains is a little shell of a living being but she, the one who raised seven children, has disappeared. Easter Sunday was also a milestone anniversary which should have been full of happiness and celebration, but it wasn’t.

    I need to sign up for a Periscope account because seeing yours would have been just what I needed on Easter Sunday afternoon. xoxo

  20. Oh boy holidays are tough when you have loved ones that have passed. I lost a brother 30 years ago and lost my Dad 2 years ago. For me the best way to deal with the holidays is to change them up a little. If certain customs will bring me to tears, I try to change that particular part of how we do the holiday. (At least until it doesn’t hurt as much and then the memories will be a bit sweeter).