Mother had cancer.  When she went to the hospital the last time, someone sent her an Easter
lily to brighten her room.  Since her immune system was so damaged, the doctor asked me to
remove the plant. Mother was saddened because the plant was in full bloom, but she
understood.  I told her I would take good care of it and she would see it when she went home
again.  I truly believed she would come home again.

But she didn't. My world turned upside down and days turned into months before I knew it.  
The lily lost its blooms and withered to nothing but dried sticks in a terra cotta pot.  After
moving the pot a hundred times, I finally put it on the back porch and forgot about it, figuring it
was already dead anyway.

Time went by and I completely forgot all about that lily, until the next spring came and I saw it
growing again. I was surprised at first, then thrilled. Then I became angry.  Mother died and
she couldn't come back, so why can that lily?  It wasn't fair.

It bloomed beautifully that season with no help from me.  Then the hot summer sun came and it
withered and died again.  I finally broke off the sticks at ground level once again and said to
the plant, "Guess that's it?" My bitterness ran deep.

It's been seven years now, and it's almost Easter again.  As I stare out the kitchen window at
the planter outside, I am surprised to see those beautiful lilies growing so beautiful and tall!
There is a whole planter full of them as the bulbs split and reproduce each year.

Easter is the religious celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I've known that all my
life.  But only now can I fully realize what resurrection truly means.  To die, and to rise again to
LIVE. That's what the lily has taught me.  As Christ died and rose again, so does this lily.  So
did my Mother.

I'm so grateful for this flower that honors my Mother on the anniversary of her death every
year.  For during a time when I would be so saddened, it reminds me that there is a
resurrection.  That there is life after death.  It rises in all its glory, putting on more flowers every
year than the year before.

I don't mistreat the plant anymore because I'm no longer angry with it.  Instead, I coddle it and
coax it and watch the dirt for signs that it's coming again. Just as I believe we should watch for
signs that Jesus is coming again. Easter is a time to remember His resurrection, and the price
He paid for us by His death on the cross. But it's also a time to remind ourselves that not only
has He risen, but He is coming again!

April, for me, is a time of bitter-sweetness. It's a time to remember a woman who loved me very
much and who I loved with ever fiber of my being. I miss her greatly ~ still after all these years.
Yet, I know in my heart she has gone to live with the Lord, and in that knowledge comes peace
to my heart.  For I know one day I will see her again.  Jesus promised, for with His death and
resurrection came His guarantee that life is eternal. Mother died, and was resurrected,
according to the Lord's promise. And as she is now with Him, as I will be also, someday. And in
being reunited with Him, I will also be reunited with her, and many other loved ones who are
now gone from this earth. What joy, I can barely imagine!

On that great day, all the mysteries of life and death will be made known, all tears will be wiped
away, grief will be no more, and joy will abound. And, oh boy, I just can't wait to tell Mother
about her lilies. On second thought, I'm sure she already knows!

She DID go home again, to her Heavenly home ~ her REAL home!
Mom's Easter Lily
© Ferna Lary Mills


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