I don’t know about you but I feel like right now seems to be weighing heavy in a season of grief for so many. There is loss. There is a chill in the air. There is an unknown timeline stretching between virus strains and emotional ones. There is a stillness to a long winter that allows for feelings to stir and surface. A space of emptiness can appear that has a way of hibernating when warmer temperatures and social activities climb. A space that demands to be felt, whether we want it to or not. There is a sense of longing whether it be for a person, a hope or a pre-Covid normalcy. An ache of wishing for something different, something present, something more. If you are deep in this feeling season, you are not alone.
The other day I was at my mother-in-law’s house sifting through her things with my daughters and my sister-in-law. I found myself sniffing the scent of her scarves, wishing for them to still smell like her. That distinct scent as what I can only describe as her. A signature scent that has the ability to transport you to her greeting you in her kitchen, chili on the stove, macaroni and cheese in the oven, a radio playing the oldies and the scent that absorbed itself around you, floral and strong, as tight of a hold as her arms around you came the intoxicating scent of being welcomed home.
The scarves no longer hold that scent. I tried them all.
I took a picture of the lipstick in her purse, Sassy Spice, of course. I wanted to order my own tube and wear that shade that could barely contain her wide smile.
They don’t make it anymore.
My girls stood in the playroom that they used to absorb hours in and suddenly they seemed too big, too tall, too many years towered to be contained in it now.
It is all fleeting.
It will never be the same again.
It all evolves no matter how much we don’t want it to.
There is no pause button.
The children grow.
The lipstick fades.
The smell of someone you love falls from the surface and lingers only in your memories.
But that doesn’t mean it is all bad. The thing about grief is not just that it demands to be felt. It is a tremendous reminder that we only get this one beautiful, fleeting existence. Just one. But if we do it right, what a stunning thing that is. What a gift it is to have truly lived. To be the type of person that people ache to remember the sound of your laugh. The person that people will look for your handwriting in the cards that you sent. They will want to wear your lipstick and cook from your recipes and accessorize themselves in your jewelry and want to carry and live out your hopes and your goals and wish that they could wrap your scent around them on the coldest of winter days. A legacy to leave behind comes in an endless number of ways that could never be found in a resume.
They want you to carry forward and carry on, heavy and light through your days. Forward. Onward. Sometimes deep in thought and feeling. Hopefully present and awake. Just as you would have wanted them to.
In grief there is a gift. An invitation to remember to live.
Feel the rainbow and thunder of every rolling emotion that comes with that grief. Just don’t unpack and live in the dark winter forever. That is not the space created for you. Your whole life is waiting. We only get one. Let’s go live it.