Normally I welcome the feeling of stillness that accompanies winter’s first blanket of snow, but I feel downhearted. The below average temperatures are not welcome at my door. Early morning hours are a favorite of mine with just a hint of sunlight creeping in and glistening off the snow covered ground. But today, I see only gray.
Looking out the kitchen window, there is no movement in the yard. I wrap my hands around my coffee and hold the warm mug to my cheek. The heat is soothing and I smile seeing the image of the Sumatran Tiger on the mug. This was a gift from our friend Bob because he knew if you were a tiger I thought you would be a Sumatran tiger, the smallest tiger subspecies. I see light shining through Cindy’s stars dancing on our windowsill. They bring comfort even on the darkest of days. A reminder of loved ones living on in our hearts.
Unlocking the sun room door, I hear the thundering herd. Eddie is always first, followed by Annie and Mercy. I turn on the heater and plug in your heated thinking circle. Eddie likes to meditate in the warmth of your bed. Annie prances on the cold tile and decides the warmth of the kitchen is more to her liking. Mercy patrols the border and finding all in order joins Annie in waiting for the room to warm up. But Eddie loves being in the sun room no matter the temperature just like you.
The back yard is empty. No sign of life. I notice the bird feeder at the back corner of the yard is empty and feel guilty I chose laziness over filling the feeder yesterday. Your dad strung lights on the young Maple tree and like Cindy’s stars, they remind me there is light in the darkness. No deer tracks in the snow, I wonder where they are.
You loved the blue stars your dad hung up in your sun room each year. You would dash out into the sun room as soon as you heard the door unlocking and leap to the top of the Cat Power Tower. There you would star gaze and daydream. But this morning, even your stars have lost their blue. Through the frost on the window I see your friend Bossy Backyard Blue Jay sitting alone on a snow covered branch. His brilliant blue subdued in this morning’s light. Bossy and I are kindred spirits at this moment. We stand in solidarity contemplating.Most days we power through the long-lasting sadness of loss. But for many, the holidays bring to the surface the sharper edge of grief. So as the snow covers the ground and the blues grab hold of my heart, I allow myself to feel the desolation of loss and patiently wait for the sun to peek through the clouds throwing sparkles across the snow covered ground.
I reach for my coat, hat, gloves and lace up my boots. The cold air revives me and silence is broken with the crunch of my footsteps in the snow. I see each breath and think at least I can make myself useful.
I shake off the snow flakes, step out of my boots and decide another cup of coffee is what I need. I take my steaming tiger mug out into the sun room and see my deed was not unappreciated. And I think, Bossy’s brilliant blue is back. I feel a paw at my feet and see Eddie’s handsome face looking up at me. I scoop him up and we look out the window together.
Grief comes in waves and we are drifting along. I miss you Gracey. The peace ornament hanging in the kitchen window catches my eye. It has been there since we lost my dad. A reminder of words of comfort from his funeral mass.
I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So do not be troubled or afraid. -John 14:27
I know many of you, like us, are missing loved ones. I hope their spirit and love living on in your hearts brings you comfort. I wish you peace this holiday season.