I am one of those people who comes alive when May arrives, having spent the winter months in a slump. It isn't that I'm unhappy in winter, I'm just less outgoing, less motivated, and less active. I suppose it is the inwardness of the fall and winter seasons, the contraction of life. Springs comes early where I live, but March doesn't do it for me, not even with the time change.
I feel it begin in April, the month I was born in. My senses awaken and I am aware that the weather feels like April, with cool misty mornings and beautiful days. Then I celebrate my birthday, completing that year's personal journey around the sun, and I feel the expansion. The birds sing and the air feel lovely, cooling down in the evenings but not feeling crisp or cold. The light lingers. I want to be outdoors.
This past late fall my grandmother passed away, so this winter was particularly dark. I was just thinking how it has been nearly six months since she died, and I remembered that is about how long it took me to shake off the immediate grief of losing my mother in 2007. Six months seems to be what my brain needs to recover from the chemistry of loss and rearrange itself into something new. I suppose I could have asked for a medication to help me recover from my grief more quickly, but truly, what is six months in the course of my life? Why not feel how I feel, whether that is sad, overwhelmed, irritated, angry, or bereft? For me, it is better to feel all of it and make my way through it than to shove it away and pretend that it isn't there, because of course it is.
And so I feel myself coming out of it. I really recognized it this week, after I rearranged the living room furniture and gave the dining room a minor redo. At first I thought it was boredom and a simple need for change, and then I remembered. I changed the furniture after my grandfather died. I really changed things around when my mother died, changing the function of entire rooms. And here I am again, making things different because that is what I need. I grieve, and then I change my environment to one that is new for me, one that the person I miss never experienced. In this configuration I don't see my grandmother on the couch by the front window while I sit in the chair in the corner. My mother never saw the living room with the piano in it. When my grandfather visited the master bedroom hadn't been transformed into a family room.
It's different because I am different. Part of that is probably my getting older and gaining more life experience, but part of that is learning to move with grief and to find my way back to myself, for certainly I feel a little lost each time I lose a person who I love, especially one that knew me my entire life and helped me become an adult. There are only three people left in this world who remember the day I was born in a personal way, and two of them were very young. Someday there may be no one who has spent my entire life's journey with me; I am now in the role of one who has witnessed another's journey from the moment of birth (and before).