Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Song of the season

It's such an important time of year, Spring. It's a season of new life, whether you're thinking of it from a weather-wise or Christian or tax return perspective... for those of us who have drudged our feet and our shovels and the bottom edges of our pants through the chill and at times bitterness of winter, it is simple warmth and light. For those of us who look for signs of hope in life, this is the season where nature throws us a bone in pretty much every direction we look. Even as the skies cloud up and rain pours down on us, we don't so much care, because it is our instinct to search for the sun that is bound to come out... if not in five minutes, at least by the next day. Even if this isn't true, it's what we believe. It's what I believe, right now, sitting here on my couch in early April, and maybe that's because I've forgotten past years of April showers.

Even in my neighbors' group on facebook, where there has been a predominant silence throughout the past several months, new friends are emerging and telling us about their just-born babies and those on the way; they are telling us they have moved into the homes that have been newly built; connections are being made and plans for seeing one another being etched. I hugged my next door neighbor the other day because I hadn't seen her in five months. She lives next door.

Grace seems to be feeling a new freedom of expression these last few weeks, singing more and dancing wildly, spreading impassioned tantrums throughout the day. She “scared” John the other day by popping out and saying “boo!”. When the front door is open, she sneaks outside now, no longer afraid. She freely asks for what she wants (“cookoo” = cookies, “caca” = crackers, “ga” = grapes. And ps, those are the three things she eats) and she celebrates when she gets them (“yaaaaaaay”). Behind our tiny, soft headed Gracie we’re seeing a giant whopper of a girl.

So, it is discover the world season for little ones, field trip season for kids, prom season for high schoolers, date season for parents (is that true? It should be true). It's senioritis season for graduating seniors and flip flop season for all. As mundane a small talk topic weather is, sometimes it truly becomes all we care about. A weather that heals runny noses, dry skin, doldrums, and disconnectedness.

Easter egg hunt 2011, Haverhill House
Now you'll notice the darkening mood of this post and I'm sorry that it's unavoidable. There is depth to Spring. My mom's last season was Spring. I don't remember what the weather felt like -- I didn't feel it much -- but I remember seeing the brightness of days through her giant hospice room windows. There was an Easter egg hunt outside the same clear glass, where heidiandnoah were carelessly running around, right past giant eggs that the grownups, momentarily joyful, pointed at aggressively (not to forget Anna wee Anna Virginia, too little to even crawl). There were benches out there where we sometimes went to think and cry, alone, and I know she saw those moments, that we weren't alone at all. There was the day, very near the end, when she was mostly unconscious, until we brought her on her bed outside in the breezy warm air. She woke up for awhile; she loved it. I thank Spring for that day.

When I think about this season, I cannot separate her from it. She is engrained in it, from the day she gave birth to me (the first day of spring), to the middle name she gave me (Hope), to the backdrop of her final rest.

I have a dear friend who is watching her mom die right now. And I actually wrote this post in the hopes that she would read it. I don't know why; it won't make her feel better. I am not trying to tell her that all her springs will be marred by the memories of these days, nor am I trying to say that this is a forgiving season for your mom to be taken from you. I am not trying to say she should hang onto hope or appreciate the tulips right now or any other such babble nearly absent of truly useful meaning. But maybe I'm hopeful that she will somehow seek solace in Spring, that the rain will soothe her and the sun will wrap around her... and that just when she can't handle the warmth any longer, a thunder shower will appear and call out to her in empathy. And though I know she can no longer hope that brain cancer isn't going to take her mom, perhaps Spring can remind her, in the surprises it brings, that there is always a reason to hold onto the hope that she will see her mom again, in brighter days.