For my sisters, it begins in November and the anniversary of their father’s death and doesn’t let loose until after January. For me — it is Epiphany — when my mother left this life. For my BFF — Halloween — the day her brother passed away. For My Best Friend — Thanksgiving time marks the passage of the love of his life.
Everyone has one.
The time of year that gives us pause. The time of year that takes us back to the ball of grief which lives inside our heart. The time of year that reminds us of our loss.
For years — the searing pain of my mother’s death held me captive. I know I lived — survived — somehow. I know there were people in My Life holding me together, but I don’t recall how I made it through those days. I only know I did.
Then one day, I had children of my own. And suddenly all the memories of my mother became a healing salve as I remembered how to mother. I heard her voice in my head and I leaned into my memories of my childhood to find the joy to share all the good stuff with my own kids. I let Love in. Love for my kids and Love for my mother. Forward and backward wash over me in my Now.
And I healed.
It wasn’t as if I didn’t miss her physical presence, I did. I do. But I began to let her essence back into My Life. As I did that — The Season of Death lost its grip on me. I stopped mourning her. I began to bless The Universe for the gift she was to me. I was grateful for All. The. Time I had with her. I was awash in the Love she gave — all twelve years of it — that it was enough to last me the whole of My Life.
I found her showing up more and more. She is the devil in my granddaughter’s eye. She is the nativity scene The Witch puts out every year. She is the lullaby sung badly to babies. She is the prayer that watches over us. She is the timing in my step when I dance. She is my Italian temper. She is memories sweet and bittersweet woven into the tapestry of My Life. Undeniable.
If you are facing a Season Of Death amidst this Season Of Joy — take heart. Grief changes us. It is not a thing you get over or even past. Grief is a thing you learn to live with. Grief walks with you for the rest of your life.
And maybe one day — you notice Grief also teaches you a few things. Gratitude. Presence. Authenticity. Love.