When Joseph died at the end of 2012, we couldn’t say that 2012 had been the worst year of our lives. It was the year we conceived our baby, the year he grew in my belly, the year we fell in love and felt such hope. It was only the last few days that were a nightmare.
We looked ahead to a bleak year. A do-over. A dark year of grief, disoriented to find ourselves plopped back down in the life we had before Joseph, empty-armed. We thought, “2013 is going to be the worst year of our lives.”
To soften this, we tore strips of pastel papers, decorated a jar, and labeled it “2013: The Year of Growing Things.” All year, we have written on the papers and put them in the jar. Visiting the butterfly house on Joseph’s due date. Planting his camellia. Visiting our friends-turned-family (“frambly” we say) in California. Buying Joseph’s bench. Conceiving our second child.
I can look back on 2013 through this lens. The good things. The small accomplishments. A hug on a bad day. The hope and promise that planting represents.
It isn’t the lens I always see through. It has been a truly hard year. But A. comes home from a Winter Solstice yoga class talking about survival (among other things). She says, “We’ve survived.” And I know this to be true in the deepest part of myself. It’s what we started off saying, when we emerged from our cocoon of winter grief to walk about in the world again, when people asked us, “How are you?” we often replied, “We’re surviving.”
We have survived this year, and we continue to survive. As soon as Anne said it, I heard it as a refrain in my head, saw it written out between moments and memories of this past year. I wrote a poem, and you can read it here on Glow in the Woods.
© Burning Eye