Over two feet of snow was dumped on our little hill this week. The weather app on my phone declared a red banner storm alert –Winter Storm Warning!! So we prepared. Shovels were lined up on the deck and front stoop. I made sure we all had snow scrapers in our cars. Then we hunkered down and waited for the storm to come and go. The weather app underestimated the total snowfall and I found myself cursing the snow on the second and third round of shoveling. I might have been prepared for the storm – but I wasn’t really ready to do the work. Bring back the sun!
I need a Winter Warning of my own. Write it on my forehead. Write it across my heart. December heaviness dumps down with the anniversary of Rachid’s death. I drove through snow the day he died. I drove through snow to his memorial service. I wrote his name in the snow with a ski pole. I shoveled snow all that winter.
December finds me stormy and somehow, unprepared.
Why do I forget that my body always remembers? I can wake in a panic. I might cry myself to sleep. I wonder – is there this unspoken pressure I put on myself that because I have so much to be grateful for I shouldn’t be sad? Or maybe the story I buy into is that time has gone by (six years) so I shouldn’t feel this way anymore? Or maybe I feel guilty loving so fully now and also mourning? I need a new weather service in my brain!
Like this recent December nor’easter I can underestimate the power of my own winter storm and feel overwhelmed by the work. The feelings are complex – sad for my kids, tragic for him, sad memories of sadness! Get the shovel out Caroline because there is sh#t coming down!
Tell me, oh fellow grievers, what it is like for you when the sun or rain or snow or falling leaves, or whatever, remind you of such a painful time?
The good news is that as the years go by my tools get sharper. I might have missed the warning and been caught a bit by surprise, but I will dig deep now. I know who to call. I know to light the candles in the kitchen when the sun retreats. I know to reach out to Rachid’s family, donate his favorite foods to the local food pantry, gather my children together in my heart and around our table….
And most importantly, I know this storm will pass.
I will try to love better, sweeter, and more patiently. I will thank you more often. I hope to walk gingerly through this month and not slip. The snow may be heavy, but it is beautiful, as is my grief.