My mom died a year and a half ago and I still don’t know how to carry that loss. I’ve been wearing it like a coat, through all seasons, hiding in it and draping it over my shoulders as a cape, stuffing it in my purse and sleeping under it. This heartbreak is new, more fundamental than any other I have experienced; I’m not good at it. I can’t move through it — it’s always moving through me. There are no stages for grieving my mother, only weather:
I’m fine, I’m living my life, I miss her but she taught me how to be in the world without her, I’m managing it …I wish she were here so she could see that I’m managing it.
I miss her, I miss her, I miss her, I miss her, I miss her.
My head is down, I’m pointing myself where I want to go, but I can’t get there at a normal pace. It’s like running in deep water …exhausting. I take shelter near something or someone solid if it gets to be too much.
I sit on the porch while the shower soaks into the grass and runs down the driveway. I let it drip through the trees and flood the gutters. I try to be grateful for the drop in temperature and the colors deepening.
The power is out, I can’t sleep, the kids can’t sleep, we are all restless. We feel vulnerable no matter how solidly the house is built. I light candles and say, “we’re okay, we’re here together, there’s a kind of wild beauty in it, right?” But that’s easier to believe on a clear day.
I hide in the basement, I hold the kids tight, I breathe and I wait.
Nature puts the world on mute and I go inside. The door is locked, but if someone knocks, I will let them in. From my window, I watch the snow erase everything familiar to me. Spring, when it comes, will draw me something new.
There are places in this world where predicting the weather is really easy — Minnesota is not one of them and Grief is not one of them. Here, where I am living, weather doesn’t follow any rules. Sometimes there’s snow in June. Sometimes there’s a thunderstorm in February. This kind of grief has its own climate.