Easter was always a time I dreaded when I was a teenager. It was a time that triggered memories that I did not want to remember. For years after my dad's suicide, I couldn't handle Easter. The very thought of walking into a supermarket and seeing the vast array of coloured eggs and Easter rabbits would send me into an emotional spiral. I didn't want to think about it, I didn't want to remember, so I avoided it.
One of the most vivid memories I had of my dad was his last Easter with us. We were at our grandma's house and he was meeting us there for Easter with the family. I remember the chocolate Easter bunnies he had in his hands. Especially the one that was for me. The long chocolate ears, the purple foil that had Cadbury written on it. I remember it.
I remember the little paper boxes he had made for us. One blue for my brother and the other pink for me. Both filled with little chocolate easter eggs, each wrapped in a different coloured foil.
This was why I hated Easter.
But here I am years on. Standing in a supermarket looking at Easter eggs for my own son. And it hits me. All those years as a teenager trying to suppress the memory had worked. I had forgotten all about it until I saw it. The design had slightly changed since but it was still the same. The purple foil, the brand Cadbury written on it. It was staring at me from the shelf as if to say: 'Hey, remember me?' And it hit me. It hit me like a fucking ton of bricks!
Over the years I had put up so many barriers to keep the memory gates closed. Everything was stacked up on those gates, you name it. Anything to stop them from opening. To stop the pain that came flooding in with those memories. I had been so good at locking that gate that I had forgotten a lot - I had forgot him.
My father committed suicide when I was 12 years old. I wish that I could say that I had been prepared for it given he had attempted it six times before, but I really wasn't. I still remember being woken up by my mother in the morning to tell me my father was dead. I still remember the shock and disbelief. But I only spoke to him yesterday? Stupid naive Kylie.
The thing about suicide is that it rips you apart.
It rips everybody apart. Losing a loved one by any means is horrible, but suicide does irrevocable psychological damage to everybody involved. The pain doesn't end with the person dying, it lives on forever. People get angry and nasty in their grief, they point fingers and pass blame to try and understand it, to try and rid themselves of the guilt festering inside of them. It lingers at the back of everything you do, this cloud that seems to follow you everywhere. The what ifs, or should haves consume you. So I put up the barriers and refused to go to supermarkets at Easter.
It never occurred to me that one day I might need to remember. That one day I would not be angry. That I would miss him beyond anything else instead of hating him. It never occurred to me that I needed him, even if it was in spirit. And then I gave birth to my son. My little boy who would never know his grandfather. My little boy who needed to experience the wonder and magic of Easter like every other child.
I stand here and have to ask myself. Why Easter? Why do I get so upset at Easter instead of Christmas, or the anniversary of his death? I have other memories that could torment me - why this one? Maybe it is because we are celebrating the resurrection of a man who was once lost like my dad, except my dad isn't coming back. He is not going to rise from the dead.
So here I am in the supermarket. Staring at a stupid chocolate bunny. As if that bunny ruined my life. As if everything is that bunny's fault. A part of me wants to run away like I would usually do. A part of me wants to grab that fucking bunny and smash it against the wall. But I don't. I am a mother now. My son needs happy memories. My son needs to know his Grandfather for who he was and not what he did.
So I grab that bunny and put it in my basket.
Happy Easter my beautiful boy, This bunny is from Grandpa
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