We’ve had one crazy winter! Long cold snaps, freezing rain (always on a Sunday, what’s with that?!) and a huge pile of snow, that has blanketed the lively earth beneath for three months, and counting. Winter this year has been long, unsettling, and unpredictable. Like grief. As most of you know, my father died just after Christmas. He had lived a long life, and the type of illness he had was like falling leaves and creeping frost slowly taking abundance of living away from him. In his way, he was ready for death. Was I ready for it? In my head, yes… and for the first week or so, I was able to look at the landscape of his passing with some equanimity, knowing it was somehow ‘right.’ But like this winter, grief has moved into a longer season of unsettled unpredictability, which has included not a little irritability on my part. I’m startled by sudden downpours of tears (freezing rain?). I’m amazed at how energy draining it is to put on every day the heavy mantle of loving and missing. Then there’s that inevitable shovelling to clear a path through the snowbanks of estate and probate and funeral decisions. Grief, it seems is a wintry season. Perhaps grief’s winter will thaw into a spring grieving season, I don’t yet know. Some of you will be my teachers I’m sure, having lived the seasons of grief before me.
One thing I do realize, however, is that like winter, I have no control over this grief season. I can’t make it “go away” any more than I can shift the earth on its axis to shorten the winter. Grief, like winter, is to be lived as well as one can. It will take its own time. As the days outside my window begin to lengthen, and the icicles shorten in the strengthening sun, I’m learning to hope, that grief’s harsh coldness, like snow, will yield , and Spring’s gentle hybrid holding of cold with light, warmth with darkness, will create a new season of of grieving, one that is lighter, and and hopeful for the growing season ahead.