Two, Three and Four (A Snow Story)



Two feet of snow yesterday, so I will dig out and uncover some words which have evaded me lately. By this time in life I know when I have been burying things. Nature has a way of coaxing out what I need to see. Time to dig a path.

My son woke up yesterday amidst Blizzard Jonas and his presence made me feel happy. Sometimes the fact that he is here and alive and healthy fills me up. We moved toward the stairs together and I grabbed him up, remarking aloud how I miss his baby self because I want to pick him up and carry him. “I miss him too, because then Susanna would be here”. We start the day in the same place, missing her and adrift together.

Two feet of snow, and I dance between three and four, as I do lately. Forging a threesome within a family which will always be four. My son is the first to remind me that she is still here, but we keep growing/aging with three sets of breath in our space. When your child crosses over before you do, it is so true that you live in two worlds, part of me having gone with her like a mother does. There is a pronounced friction between moving forward and stopping dead in your tracks. Forgive me for seeming distracted. I have been internally snowbound for a long time.

I puttered around yesterday and reveled in the frozen time and place blanketed by the snow. I talked to Susanna as I cooked in my kitchen, tidying the area in the center where she used to stand on a stepstool and stick her fingers into the flour. She always asked to smell the jars of herbs and bottles of extracts, regardless of whether we used them. This is her spot. Clear as a sunny day, she stays with me.

I did a little laundry. I picked up a tee shirt belonging to my significant other, who was outside shoveling/playing with our son. I pressed it to my face and inhaled, causing a wave of love for him and a whispery insight. As I allow and express sobs of grief for our daughter these days, I keep at bay my fears of losing him. I feel sad near his birthdays and during discussions about his retirement. Many of us will weather not one great loss but a series. So much easier to dwell on petty day-to day grievances, but fears of loss are better met by knowing them in the open. Everyone’s days are numbered. I hope we have years and years left on earth together, the three of us. I hope this even though much of the time the pain makes me wish time moved faster, but someday there will be an end and someone will lose again. Now back to the snow.

S.O. and son came in with red faces, seeming cleansed, alive and happy. I had no desire to go outside. The combination of full moon and high tide in the early evening had set me slightly on edge after our experience in Superstorm Sandy. Problems were not expected but for good measure I opened the door a few times to make sure no icy water was gushing down the street. If that had happened, I knew we had lived through that and much worse, so I had let go.

This morning I ventured out to clear some drifts off of the sidewalk with my neighbors while S.O. slept. I wanted to contribute some elbow grease before his valiant sixty something heart took over, because the news reported loss of life among snow shovelers. The sun is out and a few endorphins have been released. In a few minutes the mayor of New York City will announce officially that school will be open and I will need to go to work tomorrow. Thank you Jonas, for muffling the noise for a bit so I can hear.


By trishfreer

Mother, writer, artist and teacher grappling with grief and loss.

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