The Japanese Magnolias, soon to be followed by the Cherry Blossoms, are here. Fleeting, time meaning nothing. When my son was younger he called the white Cherry Blossoms “Popcorn Trees”. Not because they looked like popcorn but because, he ascertained, they were popcorn. He also was certain the Dalmatian we saw at the playground was in fact a zebra. He trusts his own observations.

Susanna is here too. I have come to understand that disincarnate spirits have no age, not the way we know age. They are still the people we knew but they grow with us. Susanna’s shoes are lined up next to her brother’s. They have not been replaced with larger new ones. Still they are hers, waiting for her because she is arm’s length away to us as always. The way she grows with us is something I cannot explain but know just the same.

Spring has started and Easter is tomorrow again. I feel like all of my arteries and veins are full of cement. I picked up imagery at some point from yoga of my whole body as a breathing mechanism. You can send your breath to places which hurt and need attention. I hurt everywhere. Even though the breath I send is not deep and joyful, I still breathe.

Among the days which passed in March was my significant other’s birthday. I remember, two years ago, the last time we celebrated when everyone was still here in body. Susanna, of course, insisted I put on my party dress and shoes to dance with her as a performance for her Dad. I squeezed my expanding waistline into a gold taffeta formal in my closet. She donned the usual princess attire. We both wore new gem studded black flats we had purchased for spring. I believe the songs were “On the Floor” and “Feel this Moment”, probably also her favorite, “Poker Face”. Later my kids set up a special party room with pillows on the floor in the cluttered “office” where we keep too much stuff. We sat in a circle a little while and looked at each other. I saw that look on S.O.’s face, the one where he is filled to his eyeballs with love.

This year on his birthday I had the cement feeling, but hope to remember a realization I had in my kitchen as I made dinner. There will be a day when time will slip away and I will look back on everything. I will see the dance parties and I will see the leaden days of tears. I will see them all as days well lived, beyond judgement. The grief comes with the love. The tears will clean up every pathway within me. My family has been cheated out of so much, we will not be cheated out of our tears. I might cry for some more years but still the flowers will come in season and still they will leave again. They will leave a fluffy pink trail.

By trishfreer

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

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