The day before Easter of 1981 I actually hiked up the long steps of Blarney Castle, in Cork, Ireland. I remember the incident fondly, despite being hungover from surfeits of Guinness the previous evening. I think my hike to the castle and up the long steps was a modicum of penance for my transgressions. In a bit of gratitude I tried to recapture some of the spiritual (as opposed to spiritous) aspects of the experience in the painting at right. Easter of 1981 is one I remember with fondness and even a modicum of grace. Ireland, with its entrenched, albeit convoluted form of Catholic Christianity seemed to go well with the Crucifixion and Resurrection tale.
And then, of course, there is the Easter Rebellion, also in Ireland and such a different and tragic tale of the convoluted history of this charming place, and the day on which, as Yeats would have it, a “terrible beauty” was born.
I have a problem with festive times of the year, both Christmas and Easter, for it is at such times I am struck by intense sensations of isolation in the universe. Oh, I do not intend to be dreary. There is a world of difference between sensations of isolation, or aloneness, if you prefer, and loneliness. I am rarely lonely. I have many friends whom I cherish and would do anything for, as they would for me. No, it’s more a sort of existential aloneness that comes from a virtual lack of family. That reality can lead to a feeling of loss-of-place in the world. I am happily married, and my wife and I cherish each other deeply, but that is a relationship of choice, and not family in quite the same sense. My parents have been gone for many years. I don’t miss them so very much because ours was not a warm and cuddly home. I have a brother whom I love deeply, although we see each other rarely. I have another brother who chooses to remain utterly detached from any familial connections. That’s his choice. I respect it. Maybe even understand it.
But, festive times can make me acutely aware of loss. Here I will mention a person I lost. I have no children, by choice of my first wife (a choice I respected but was hurt by). But, I do have a stepdaughter by my second marriage. She chose to alienate herself from me. Shit happens in God’s universe. I can live with it. And I miss Max more than I miss her, because he treated me better and was grateful for any generosities I bestowed.
Ultimately, even though I have lost many others in my life, we learn to cope and I for one am very happy to be with my loved friends and adored wife on this Easter of 2016 and not maybe in the best of all possible worlds, but certainly in the best one we’ve got.