First Day of Spring

Duke gardens pond spring 2014

This morning I wanted to do something special for the Equinox, so I took a walk at Duke Gardens. I sipped my coffee as I walked along the paths of starting-to-bloom magnolia and plum trees, and listened to the gleeful ducks and woodpeckers. It was chilly at first, but once my blood started moving and the sun started peering through the branches, I felt warm and reconnected to the greenness of the Earth. I felt calm and grateful as I breathed in the beauty around me.

But it wasn’t enough to have a reconnecting experience. I had to create something new and fabulous to share with the world! So I sat on a stone bench and started writing. I was hoping to write something inspiring and transcendent about Spring and transformation. I would write about the divine feminine and the need to create new stories and modes of worship. But instead of beautiful, articulate, poetic words forming on the page, all the gunk that had been lying around under the surface came up and out. And it didn’t taste good. It was whiny and needy and boring and unpleasant. Damnit! All I wanted to do was write something transcendent and inspiring! Was that too much to ask?

Well, then I realized it was my ego talking. It’s been feeling vulnerable and needy lately. So I reminded myself that I’m not going to help anything by attaching a sense of worth to words I put on the page or out into the world. Really, who cares if I said I’d write about a different goddess each month, and today I don’t feel like I have anything to say about that? Who cares if I want to make up a new goddess and that feels daunting? Who cares if I never write anything worth reading ever again? I’m still a lovable person, and that was really the message I needed to hear.

When I first started seeing a grief counselor, she talked about mothering myself. That pissed me off, because I wanted my mother to mother me. It felt like such bullshit (and still does) that I can’t call my mother for reassurance when I’m feeling lonely or sad or unlovable. Now I have to tell myself every sweet, unconditionally loving thing my Mom would have said. Yes, I do turn to other loved ones who reassure me when I’m feeling bad – and I’m truly grateful for their love. But when I remember to do it, giving myself the unconditional love that I’m looking for – from my mother or anyone else – has been a really powerful process. It makes me feel connected to the Divine inside me, and makes me feel whole in a way that I never can from looking outside myself.

The first day of Spring feels hard because it’s a reminder that amidst another turn of the seasons, life returns to the Earth, except for those it doesn’t. My mother won’t be here for her birthday next week. And all the flowering quince, forsythia, daffodils, and crocus are reminders of her and her love of Spring. Her absence is painful beyond words. So I won’t try to write the perfect words about it. Today, I’ll just be. And I’ll try to remember love.

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3 thoughts on “First Day of Spring

  1. Molly Rich says:

    Another exceptional piece, Rebecca, but…

    reading this makes me feel that you are too hard on yourself…you write the right words but the voice of contempt is so apparent, the voice that puts the “should” in where it does not belong. It also makes me think that it would take only one word from your mom, one word from her in this world that would allow you the return to balance you have not felt since she died.

    I wonder if crying, throwing things, and cursing or whatever it is that you consider a “tantrum” might be appropriate when the world is not in focus – how can it ever be in focus again without your mom?

    Some folks might think I am trying to encourage indulgence and I would vehemently shout: NO! Is it indulgent to be truthful with oneself? No! Is it indulgent to try to fling off that which holds us in agony’s place? No! Is it indulgent to process emotions in a way that tears away at the darkness? No! Is it indulgent to sit, to ponder, to gradually gather ourselves up and ever so slowly move forward? No!

    There is no time limit on grief, Rebecca, and it seems to be that in some ways you are trying to convince yourself that you “should” not be where you are. Remember, you are in a place you have never been before your mom died. Before your granddad died. You have never explored the vastness of grief’s expanse – it will take a while because the terrain will trip you up in a minute and sometimes what appears to be light are just the reflections of our tears.

    I am almost afraid to hit the send button because I do not want to have overstepped or trampled on our friendship nor do I want to suggest thoughts and feelings that are not there – my reactions were so strong, Rebecca, that I feel I have to send them to you – for you are a worthy woman who deserves the kindness, love, patience, and acceptance that you so generously give to others.

    I love you,
    Molly

  2. Rebecca says:

    Molly,
    Thanks for writing. Thank you for your concern and thoughtful words. In my post today I wanted to share about my writing process, since I had been feeling a little stuck recently – and in being open about self-judgment, to use the process of writing about judging myself as a form of acceptance. I could have used more practice with self-love before my Mom died, but going through the shocking grief has opened my eyes about the necessity of self-acceptance, and forced me to practice it more assiduously.

    It’s interesting that you heard a lot of “shoulds” in my post today about where I am in my grief, that I don’t think I feel. I know it will be an ongoing up and down process, and I know I feel differently than I did a year ago, and six months ago. In my post I wanted to show how I cope with self-doubt (that I think everyone feels in different ways and different degrees). I know I can be hard on myself about different things, so thank you for your kind words. And thank you for your friendship, Molly – I treasure it.

  3. Susan Herbert says:

    Thoughtful goals are a way to get started but not a driving force. We always react to responses as we must. The recall of delightful spring flowers that Marty liked is inspiring to me. My walks are hard to skip with those in mind. Thanks.
    Susan Herbert

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