Looking out the window, my head pounding, sinus pressure making me wonder where my tongue fits in, I’m taken by how lovely such desolation looks. Snow covering my deck, the yard, the trees, blanketing the messes left by incomplete projects, time not had. The odd flakes glitters it’s way down from a random tree branch, and everything looks clean.
But baby, it’s COLD out there.
I ache this time of year for spring, for growth, for newness, that particular color of green in new grass, the anticipation of buds opening again. We know we’re on the downslope, that soon the shushed white of winter will turn warm and wet, breakdown, and follow itself into the sewers. We eye the seed packs in the store, imagine the garden we just didn’t get finished last summer.
We tense, waiting. We start remembering that the summer clothes won’t fit, start grabbing sandals now since they won’t be there in June. We smile remembering how delicious the air is come the end of May.
We know it’s all just one big dance, in circles, ad nauseum.
Today I received the news that a long-time coworker lost her daughter, her beautiful, vivacious 16 year old daughter, the spitting image of her mother, all soft caramels and long dark hair. The same laugh I imagine, and cautious approach. I stare at her pictures, read the comfort family and friends take in their god. Through tears I ask myself, as always, how on earth they can believe in anything that let something so precious as a daughter like this one leave.
I don’t have the answer, but I envy their comfort, the simple yet strong faith they have to propel them through this, through the utter horror of losing a child.
As a mother, holding my oldest, I’m broken hearted and speechless thinking of it, thinking of Vivian in 10 years, diagnosed with leukemia, going through chemo and bone marrow transplants and how she’d be strong and how it still wouldn’t matter, I’d still be closing her eyes for one last time on a narrow hospital bed, her wit and beauty and strength sapped and missing, fragile coat of a body left for us. As a mother I turn away in protection, my heart and mind finding it far to easy to understand what my coworker must be feeling today, not even 24 hours after they let her go.
I look for the beauty. I look for the covering snow for that life and I just can’t find it, and all the “maybe it’s what it should be” platitudes don’t make it ok. There is no spring to awaken to in this death, not buds to unravel, just the shortening of a life, the ending of what could be, and the sore broken hearts of a family.
I never knew this girl, a teenager in another country, her mother and I passing like sheets in the winds in different roles. She rarely ever spoke of the illness itself, and I understood. But there’s a level that mother’s can find and stand on-the horror of losing a child. We can know each other there, in the spaces where we love, and were loved.
Our winter stays there, hidden, and waits to wrap itself around us when we need it too.