There are days when my grief is too big for the house to contain. So I rush outside before grief expands, and I try to cast it away into the dome of the sky.
Last Monday was one of those days, when I felt like the house was strangling me. I raced to get outside. We’d had a storm, and I stepped into fresh snow and a world that had gone all white. Ten inches of wet snow smoothed the landscape, cloaked the trees, and softened hard edges. The mountains were invisible; fog silvered the middle distance.
Snow fell and I reveled in the fast, fat white flakes. I’m a Bay Area girl, new to living in snow; I still think it’s magic. Once outside, I crunched and scrunched down the road and across paths and lawns ; I kicked white gouts of powder in front of me, made funny footprints, hurled snowballs that flew apart into sprays of crystals. I laughed. And then I started to cry.
One of the curious things about grief is how closely joy and sadness are entwined. Tears often follow moments of happiness, as if joy opens a valve to a spillway and grief gouts out, rolling in sticky tears over my face.
I wandered for hours in the storm, snapped pictures while tears soaked my face (it’s a wonder they didn’t freeze!). Sometimes I bawled my head off in the silent isolation of the storm. And at some point during my long hike, I thought, these pictures will be love letter to my mom.
The images in this post are things I want to share with her, pictures that would make her laugh, or say “oh my.” I don’t know if the dead can see the internet, but Momma, if any part of you still drifts in the ether and can see into cyberspace, these are for you.