“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created spring.” ~Bern Williams
A little over a month ago I woke up to a clear day. The sun was shining, the air was warm, and I could see clearly the day ahead of me. Spring was here, the days were longer and as the sun melted the snow, it also began to clear the fog that had settled in my head. I knew something had changed when I caught myself making a joke during yoga. Something that used to come so naturally took me by complete surprise. Such a small moment that went unnoticed by everyone but me, was a huge turning point in my healing process. It was like walking outside in early April and seeing the first signs of a tulip sprouting out of the frozen earth.
Winter can be relentless and often leaves its victims feeling like spring will never come, the ground forever frozen and inhospitable to life. Like grief, winter’s darkest days can make you forget what warmth the sun promises to bring. My mind and body have been wrapped tightly in a womb of fog making even the simplest of tasks feel monumental and too often impossible. The last clear memories I have took place over six months ago in a time when I still knew who I was – a time when Ryan was as much a part of my past, present and future as I myself was. Once he was gone, I was gone. My friends, family, students and colleagues could all see me, but I wasn’t really there and only those who know me the best could see the emptiness in my eyes. These are the same people who first noticed the clarity begin.
It only takes a few warm days for the tulips to sprout. Suddenly little green buds fill gardens, pots and ditches. They can go unnoticed by many, but those who have been waiting the longest are rewarded with a feeling of anticipation. What’s even more impressive is that the frost can come back, wrap its bitter hands around the struggling life and try to choke it. Amazingly, tulips are strong enough to fight the frost off. They might lose their luster for a moment, but by mid afternoon, after just a little bit of warmth, they’re right back to growing strong and healthy. Just a few more clear warm days and these tulips will begin to show their true splendor. Soon the ground will be filled with vibrant colors reminding us that no matter how harsh a winter, life prevails and rewards us with beauty, warmth and light.
Spring is an incredible time of year, based in hope, sprinkled in disappointment and sealed with promise. The love of my life is gone and I’ve accepted that he’s never coming back. The man I’ve had a crush on for years is no longer here to take care of me, spoil me or love me. Life has changed, but like the rays of sun to a tulip, acceptance has begun to warm my heart. The promise of Marley’s arrival has helped fight off grief’s bitter returns and I’ve begun to show my colors once again. The frost has come and gone and I have survived proving that no matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.