This morning I received my first, official notice that spring is right around the corner. I looked out the living room window and found a woodchuck nibbling away on the grass in our front lawn.
It was a bittersweet moment. While signs of nature waking up from winter usually make me happy, this year they also make me a little sad. In the past, when I’d find an animal in the yard, I’d yell, Look, look, and Poupon would come running to my side to see what the fuss was about.
As we make our way through our year of firsts, so many everyday moments summon grief. Finding a pool of sunlight on the floor in my office, hearing the call of a red-winged blackbird waiting for food at the feeder, or seeing a dish that was used for cat food, all remind me of how life used to be with our little guy.
It’s strange, too, because sometimes the moments are random and completely unexpected. Like Friday night when I stood in the lobby of a restaurant waiting while Michael went to get the car, and discovered a vase of pussy willows by the door. As I stared at the soft silvery tufts, tears sprang to my eyes when I realized they looked just like Poupon’s velvet-gray fur.
As tough as the last five months have been, something is shifting, though. In Waking Up in Winter, when I journaled about losing my friend Debbie Ford, I wrote:
Grief is like the ocean with its never-ending waves. Since
Debbie’s death I’ve been swimming in the pain of this loss, feeling steady one minute and unstable the next. As I’ve surrendered to the heartache, though, and allowed the sadness to flow through me, I’ve noticed that with each wave, a piece of sorrow gets washed away, leaving behind precious memories of our time together.
This morning I noticed it’s happening. As I embrace our loss and the subsequent sadness, I finally feel like the pain is starting to morph into memories that remind me of the love.
And love leaves healing in its wake.
Yes, seeing nature spring forth here in the Northeast is inspiring a hopeful optimism that there’s life beyond loss. And whether you’re experiencing grief right now or not, I promise you’ll want to remember this.
P.S. – You can order Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife, here.
P.P.P.S. – This week’s Facebook Live session will be held on Tuesday at 6pm EST/3pm PST. You can join me on my Facebook Page here. And you can watch previous sessions on my YouTube channel at CherylRichardsonTV here.
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