For the first time I can remember, the spring season has been an emotional struggle for me. Who would have thought that grief also blooms in spring?
Ted died at the beginning of winter, so it was natural to curl up mentally and physically. That nothing was growing, no leaves on the trees, fewer animals about as they all hunkered down in winter – felt right. It was nature painting that of what you have when all is done and dormant. That view was where I was and it was somehow comforting to be encased in it.
But then, as it always does, spring opens its window and lets in its warmth and new songs in the air. I mean, truly, the air has a different song in the spring than in winter. Not just the birds who are back from their winter migration and chirping as if they have months of catching up to do. The actual breezes have a different song. I swear to you that if you sit by your wind chimes outside in winter and again in spring, you hear different notes. It is as if Winter has a different set of mallets used to play the chimes than Spring does. Winter plays with a harder more crisp beat and tone than that of spring, who brings out the brushes instead of the mallets and plays with a lighter touch. Even the gusts sound different. Winter gusts sound commanding and of a warning tone and in spring, well, the gusts feel like it isn’t about you. Springs gusts are a symphony of dance that wants to be frenetic and free – without the restriction of direction or rhythm.
For me, grief intensified once spring hit. I had thought that once we made it through Galen and Ciara’s wedding, that grief would ease. We not only made it through the wedding, but it was also amazing and joyful and it felt like Ted was with us and I thought spring would then be as grand as it always is.
I was right, but I was horrifically wrong too. Emotions are like weeds and flowers. Some come up easily and some are deep in the ground and take seemingly forever to come up. Then once they do arise, they are unrecognizable. You can’t tell what it is until it has filled the space and bloomed. And then, those deep deep rooted ones are hard to get out once you do know that they don’t need to stay.
I underestimated how much Ted’s presence would be missed when the switch was flipped from winter to spring. In winter, Ted would be in his mad scientist room and conjuring up new projects. He was maybe less visible in winter except for when he would come up to eat or watch some television and rub my feet. He always rubbed my feet and legs as we watched TV. That and a good back scratch are two of the things that I still miss daily.
In spring, he was outside figuring out where he was moving his shrubs around, how he would change the garden, undoing parts of his waterfall to redo again. He could never leave things alone. He always had to tinker and make it better, or change it or move it. I would get exasperated at how many times a shrub would be moved in our yard. One space would become too small for it when it grew or it wasn’t growing fast enough for him and so he would move it. Sometimes it grew and it just wasn’t how he envisioned the space to be, so he would move it elsewhere. This would happen with so many different annuals and shrubs. It use to drive me nuts sometimes. “Why are you making more work for yourself?” I would complain. But in the end, he was usually right and the much moved vegetation would be best where he finally left it.
I’ve had alot of help this spring with clearing up the yard, projects around the house and general repairs, but that too made me miss Ted. It just showed me how many people it will take to assist to handle the things that Ted has always done and I took mostly for granted.
Spring is a season of newness, hope, and promise of things to come, and honestly, the embodiment of moving on. It is hard for the boys and me to want to move on too quickly though. I can feel my heart opening up to spring and her beauty of new grasses, flowers, and buds everywhere. To the playfulness of the robins again finding nesting spots around our porches and eves and the new bunnies in the yard. We are not sure if Peter found a mate, or if these are from some of his friends or relatives. But while my heart opens to all of the newness, it also breaks as it reopens.
Spring makes me feel like it is forcing me to open up and take a new look at my surroundings. But that opening up feels like a protective shell cracking and under the shell, it is so new and fragile. It makes me realize that Ted was my protective shell. He made it easier for me to just be me and not worry about getting enough water to the right areas and the water storage monitored. He took care of so much of the indoor and outdoor space. All I had to do was feed him and he was the energizer bunny who was always busy with something. I mean, I did help obviously, but I could get out of much of it just in the time it would take to make three full meals a day for us.
I realized as I listened to an interview this week, that my cooking skills may have been honed by the avoidance of some other duties. In the interview, the host was asking the gal how it was that she mastered the piano. The gal admitted that she had never washed dishes growing up. She explained that as dishes were being cleared from their table, she would begin to help clear the table, but then find herself at the piano and would practice and sing the latest song that they were all interested in, and in doing so, she was entertaining the ones who ended up washing the dishes. They liked it, so they let her continue on the piano as they washed, dried and put away. She got better at the piano and also never ended up washing a dish in many years.
I guess what I am saying is that spring has shown me that my audience is gone and that I now need to do all of those other things that I so willingly avoided while Ted was here to do them. I’m also realizing that I had the better end of our deal and it is a bit overwhelming to have to fill in Ted’s shoes.
So overwhelmed by the thoughts of all that needs to be done at home, for Ted’s business, and in getting ready for Ted’s memorials, I have decided to step away from my job for the summer to figure things out and give myself some time. It has been so very busy with work and visitors and the wedding and getting Ted’s projects figured out, that I just felt like time was the one thing that I was craving the most. Yes, it will come at a cost of loss of salary for a while, but it’s never been about money for me. I need time. Time to spend with friends and family and not have to worry about getting to work the next day. To be with the boys and help Galen out with Ted’s business for a bit. To sit on the deck and take notes on how nature carries on. Nature is after all, a wonderful teacher.
I wish I had more time with Ted, but I don’t, so I’ll not kill myself working too many hours with not enough time to focus on what it is I need right now. The job will either be there for me when I hope to go back in the fall, or it won’t and I’ll move on to something else. Spring is here to show that life changes quickly sometimes and if you want to enjoy it, you just might need to slow down and stop and just watch to see what is growing around you.
This quote came up in my feed recently, and felt it was speaking to me.
My living wants to include travel, new places, learning the unicycle, seeing friends and family and making and keeping connections with those that I meet along the way. And Hugs, lots and lots of hugs.
And as if Spring did not want me expect all steps to be forward and not to have a step backward in there from time to time, after a week of very warm weather in the 80’s and 90’s in Denver, she sent a bit of winter back for a visit.
This was our yard yesterday.
Proof that life can be all over the place, but there is beauty in it all.
Oh, and if you think you are coming to one of the memorials, go back to yesterday’s post and fill in the rsvp form for the one you are coming to. ❤
2 thoughts on “Grief Blooms in Spring”
Your writing is beautiful Sal❤️
Sending hugs 💛