The assault of spring after loss 17/52

April 24, 2022


There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery  

~Dante Alighieri  

Week 17: The assault of spring after loss

The brutal winter of 1993 uncovered the harshness of life with the death of my five-year-old son Ryan. The stark and frigid winter mirrored the hollow space, I was in. If any season could describe death, winter would be it.  But when the first hints of spring began appearing so early in my grief, it revealed the cruel reality that life went on. Spring exposed a new beginning that I was not prepared for. Each bud displayed the promise of a new day, with the warm air another contradiction to the bitter cold. 

We were in the process of moving when Ryan died. Our house had sold, and the move date was set. This strange transition made grief even more overwhelming. In our new home, Ryan had already chosen his bedroom and now, as I walk past this space it echoes with emptiness. Pausing, I listen for his laughter that does not come and force myself to walk down the stairs. My survival is hinged by the tasks that come with a new home and a new habit of going through the motions. As I move through the promise of spring and the hope that comes with a new home, I collapse in grief. Every moment that could provide a rush of joy was instantly followed by an avalanche of guilt.  I don't know how to live.

The impact of these raw emotions makes my ability to process any grief even more confusing. How would I ever know happiness in this new space when my son has died? Each day becoming more tangled in the web that is grief. Unable to comprehend how I would survive. Stumbling through this pain I sought ways to cope. With my inability to sleep, a habit of reading to exhaustion became a part of my night. This provided an escape from the reality of my world. 

Each season delivered a rush of panic as I wondered how I would cope, and I often wonder if our moving from the last home with Ryan transformed my grief in other ways?  My joy remained connected to guilt for many years, and the arrival of spring still causes me to pause and remember how my world had fallen apart while the flowers of spring still bloomed.

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