Finding Balance {and Warmth} After Loss

Ice patterns on a cold morning in Slidell
A very cold day in Louisiana, Winter 2014

One morning, during Winter 2014, my daughter and I were forced to vacate our warm beds so that we could subject ourselves to the biting cold weather outside. It felt reminiscent of our school journeys while living in the UK, when we spent many a cold morning, shivering at the bus stop. We had to remind ourselves that we weren’t in the UK anymore. No…this was Louisiana, where we’re usually either “hot” or “frickin’ hot” and a “cold front” means it’ll be 80-something degrees outside instead of the usual 90+°F. The temperature, on this day, was about 18°F. When we got in the car, we were unprepared for the beauty we would find on the windshield. We’d seen snow, icicles, and frosty windows before, but never anything as pretty as this. We sat there long enough to admire and take a picture. It was one of the coldest winters I’d experienced in my home state.

In retrospect, I remember my circumstances at the time and I’m convinced that it was symbolic in a sense. I remember not being able to stay warm for months, even with several layers of clothing and/or several blankets on my bed. When this picture was taken, my mom was terminally ill and I didn’t realize that she would be gone within a couple of months; she’d been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, but she suffered a stroke and faded very quickly, as a result. I truly believe that parents have a way of comforting their children as nobody else can; that was certainly true of my mother. When she passed away, I felt her brand of warmth fade from my life. The world became a colder place with her absence. I felt that nature was telling me that my world would get noticeably colder soon ~ a natural process ~ but that it would eventually get warmer again, even if it didn’t feel that way at the time. And it has. I miss my mother very much and my grief still feels very raw, even now. But that’s okay. The life cycle has renewed itself in our family with the recent arrival of our new granddaughter, born in the Summer. When she looks at me and smiles, I almost feel like it’s my mother telling me, through her, that everything is okay.

The warmth has returned. ❤

“Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.” ~ Tao Te Ching


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