Many find it strange when I tell them that Easter is my favorite holiday. To me, Easter embodies my culture. I remember going to church on Palm Sunday and all the palms my mom would collect in the back window of the car. I remember wearing those white little heeled Easter shoes on Easter Sunday. I remember all the games played inside the house and the egg hunts in the yard. But all of those moments do not come close to the real reason Easter is my favorite.
When I was nine years old, my mother and I went back to Bosnia for Spring Break. I saw my aunt, my uncle [who was basically like my older brother], my cousin [who was basically my brother] my grandpa [and grandma] for the first time in 5 years. We spent the entire week in the village, visiting family and friends and eating smoked meat and eggs like it was a job. The amount of egg games my cousin, uncle and I played, will stay with me forever. It was basically an egg fighting game if your egg cracked on both sides, you had to forfeit it to the one who had the strong egg. The detailing on the eggs was beautiful, it almost broke my heart to even start the game. But in the end, we needed to eat.
That year was the first time that I realized my grandma had actually been dead. See, she died when I was 3, I did not really understand this concept, so when we visited her grave when I was younger it was referred to as “Baba’s house.” And to this day continues to be. I remember going to the flower shop and getting the saint candles to light at her house and all the colorful fake flowers money could buy. The drive from the flower shop to the cemetery is a bit of a blur, but I remember walking to the headstone. No emotion, not yet. It was not until my mom asked me to stand next to her and take a picture. This was the first picture in 5 years. It was in that moment that I lost all control. I could not contain my tears, I had finally realized that my grandma was gone. I never got to make pita/burek with her, never got to make palcinke, never got to have an Easter meal with her, never got to play the egg game. I lost my grandma and there was nothing I could do to get her back.
But I did still have my grandpa. This was one of the three times that I would spend with him after leaving home. One of the two Easters I got to spend with him. He is the reason why Easter is my favorite holiday. He has always been my cheerleader. For years he had this painting in his house [one that I would like to one day own] that had a little blonde girl holding a puppy. Whenever he passed this painting, he told everyone that this was his “Pejicka,” it was his Matea. I was the first girl born in the family with the family name, so I became my Dido’s Pejicka.
Now, after all these years, I am on my own. My grandpa is no longer with us, and my parents are states away. It makes this day a little harder, because my favorite person is no longer here. I can never spend an Easter with him again. I know he is with me in spirit, but I would give the world to be able to eat smoked meat and play the egg game with him one more time. And this year Easter falls two days before what would have been his 74 birthday. A piece of my heart will always be with you Dido. Volim te do mjesec i nazad.
You may not be there to call my name,
But the moon does,
I know you’re there,
When the moon is full,
When it’s barely there,
When it plays peak-a-boo with the world,
When it tries with all it might to shine at all.
I’m drawn to the outside.
Words can’t describe the nights
When we just sit there,
In each other’s presence.
You are forever in my heart,
And in my soul.
Forever I will be your Pejicka. ♡