Last Wednesday, Indiana temperatures plummeted to -13 degrees. Yet, by Sunday, women in tank tops were pushing baby strollers in the afternoon sunshine. Then came the heavy rains: my neighbor’s yard is under a few inches of muddy water. I heard someone refer to this as the bi-polar vortex.
The tempestuous weather of February seems appropriate; it finds strange symmetry with my inner world. February is the month when my daughter, Mercy Joan, was born. February is the month that she died…and I find myself feeling as unpredictable as the weather.
Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. wrote a tremendous book on trauma called The Body Keeps the Score. The phrase is fitting and evocative: each year, I feel the approach of her days in my body. My pelvis is weighted by the memory of a life carried and lost and I am acutely aware of my midline incision. The days can feel disordered, so very tiring, and I echo Frodo’s musing: “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
How do people carry the weight of pain and disappointment as the years slowly stack, one on top of the other? Time is not the ultimate healer; the passage of years cannot bring a dead dream or a dead daughter back to life. And yet, time has changed the heft of my grief. I discover myself and my loss differently with each passing year.
So, for the next few blog posts, I will be looking back at some of my February writings from years past. With this backwards glance, I hope to gain perspective and perhaps even some wisdom from what the years have held.