We just had an unseasonably warm couple of days…and as I was walking the dog, noticing the snow patch diminishing, I saw some grass peeking through. Contrary to how it usually looks (brown and dead), it was still green. Hmmmm, maybe this winter will be a mild one, a short one.
The thought sent a jolt of anxiety through my body. Anxiety and fear. By the time I got home, I was feeling kind of sick to my stomach. What the hell? Am I scared of “spring”?
See, the snow fall, the cold weather, it has felt like a soft dampening blanket to my grief. It has been shadowing my process, the quiet of winter, echoing my numbness.
But I know it won’t last forever. Because I’ve had glimpses of the mud underneath. Reality, revealed. In the spring…we will hit my husband’s birthday. It would have been his 40th. In the spring, we will start to inch toward the 1-year mark of his death. In the spring, if I continue to change along with the seasons, it will be time for re-birth. And I just don’t feel ready.
My rational mind knows all of these things are inevitable. And I am trying not to start worrying about how I will feel, until I am there – feeling it – in that moment. In fact, on the anniversary of my dad’s death, just this past week, my mom, brother and I spent a gentle, healing day together.
Yet my body, it already seems to be prepping, despite myself. And is it really a surprise? It happens to plants, too. When they sense the thaw, things go to work, energies go toward new growth, the young crusader who will push through the dirt, the daring bud, that might still get thwarted or damaged by an unexpected freeze or a powerful storm.
They say the body wants to heal itself; it’s a process that can’t be stopped. I remember being really surprised, impressed actually, when I found a pot in my garage one spring, with a lone dahlia bulb, an upside-down, forgotten bulb, barely covered in peat. Even neglected, left in the dark, no water or sun, a new shoot had found the right direction and was pushing, growing, up toward the sky.
Winter is far from over here. It’s probably not a bad thing, that little signs of spring – of change – start showing themselves to me, preparing my heart for the inevitable passage of time, and milestones. I don’t want to live in a snow bunker, fingertips frozen and numb. But I don’t think it’s wrong to fear that rush of blood, that pain that you feel when the warmth of life pushes back into frozen hands, cheeks, toes.
It really hurts to leave him behind. His life frozen in time, suspended in the past, while mine forges ahead, albeit through bitter cold loneliness, or the burning glare of his absence, through the many seasons of grief I go.