There’s no good season for a child to die. That thought kept running through my head yesterday whenever I went outside with Roo or saw the bright blue sky through my office window. And here’s our little magnolia tree beginning to bloom without Ana, just like I feared.
Ana died during the ugliest part of winter. Ana, who loved sunshine, beaches, and warmth–who was so cold during the last few months of her life (like an old woman, shivering, even with 4 blankets piled on top of her)–never got to feel another 80 degree day.
It seems counter intuitive, but these overly warm spring days are making everything worse. This morning’s grey sky is much easier to bear.
Emily commented on this the other day while we were in the car. She said something like, “I’m not happy about the nice weather.” I’m convinced she can read my mind or she’s just a very old soul because I knew exactly what she meant.
“Is it because Ana’s not here to see it?”
I’d already been thinking about how hard it would be to see the snow melt and spring return. The girls’ birthdays are in spring. My birthday is in spring. This change of season, so abrupt and familiar, serves as a particularly large and cruel reminder that life keeps pushing forward without Ana.
I shared a thought with Emily in that moment that gives me some small comfort. If Ana had died in spring or summer or at the height of winter–when the holidays tumble down around us and we’re filled with the happy anticipation of the first snow, cups of hot chocolate, and winter break–it would’ve been just as bad. She wouldn’t have been able to enjoy any of it. Plus, winter gave Ana a gift in the week before she died. She could barely eat. Her only comfort was drinking water, chewing on damp washcloths, and eating snow.
We got 24 inches of snow that week after a winter of nearly nothing; twenty-four inches of fluffy, fresh snow for me to scoop up and bring to her in a mugs and bowls and paper cups. There was more than enough to provide relief to her endless thirst.
I think Emily accepted this response. At least, she didn’t get angry at me as she sometimes does when I say the wrong thing.
When the sun comes out again, I’m going to try to imagine Ana enjoying it right along with me from a place where she’s happy, and finally at peace. It’s easy to write those words, but the reality is that yesterday I cried a lot–every time I noticed a new spring flower. Hopefully today will be a better day.