Sunday, March 30, 2014


The wheel of the year is turning - slowly, yes, but inexorably.  I feel it in a rejuvenation in my soul, in my spirit, in my body. It was a dreadful winter, with the introduction of a nasty new word into our collective vocabularies: Polar Vortex. The cold continues to plague us beyond the normal highs and lows for this time of year.

But I find that it is not the occasional warmer weather that invigorates me, but rather the return of the light.

No longer is it dark when I drive to work or when I arrive home. In fact, it's light until about 8 p.m. in our Northern Climes. It is in the return of longer days that I feel there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel (pun intended).

There are no leaves or green grass, but the snow is gone. There are no flowers, but I can hear the crows cawing. There is no working in the garden yet, but there are those rare days when coats need not be worn.

As with every other winter I have lived through since I was an adult, I mentally hibernated through winter. Of course I functioned on the surface - working and eating, interacting with friends and relatives, cleaning my house, taking care of my dog and even doing some enjoyable activities. However, it was all conducted on the surface. Deep down below, in Persephone's world, it was still all darkness.

But this year there was also another feeling that kept me inanimate, frozen - dead even -  until the arrival of spring (meteorological spring at least). Dan passed away last March 23, just three days after the equinox. I somehow felt that I had to surpass that monumental milestone of the one-year anniversary of his death to move completely on.

This year I have gone through so much and done so many things I'd never done before. I wasn't one of those widows who could not balance her own checkbook, for god's sake, but I relied on Dan for a lot of things.

This year I fought for and won all of the benefits and payments due me and was, I think, a good steward of the insurance funds left to me. I pay my bills on time and have some savings. I had essential repairs done to the house so I can sell it for a good price if I get to that point. I prepped my car for winter and warmed it up every frigid morning. I nursed it along through its problems until it needed to be put out its misery. I purchased a new (used) car, albeit with the invaluable help of my niece and her fiancé.

In the midst of all the other turmoil, I fought hard for my jeopardized job and kept it. I attempted to have surgery, found out that I had ITP (low blood platelets), went through a lot of tests and treatment over the summer, including a bone marrow biopsy, and finally had hernia surgery at the very end of September.

I learned in January that my platelet count is normal, and though my doctor was not quite ready to declare that I am in spontaneous remission, he may do so in July.

But of all the things I endured and accomplished this past year, this is the absolute most important: I think I have finally worked through all of the anger I had toward Dan and the whole situation. More and more, my memories are not of that sick, emaciated, mean and angry man, but of the other, happy and sweet young man of our courtship, early marriage and birth of our daughter.

Time to move on toward springtime - to new garden projects, to getting a new roof on the garage, to sorting and decluttering, to cleaning and painting. In short, to sowing seeds, both literally and figuratively.    


Mary said...

Sweet, dear Julie - such an awesome post. Not easy to write I'm sure but if it had to be done you were definitely the author to pen it! I'm sorry I didn't recall March 23 and get in touch - that was such a milestone in your life. At least I'm happy knowing you handled it with such grace and can now move on as Dan would want you to do, Kristen too. The memories of all those wonderful years you shared are precious and, for the most part, it's the good ones that stick and warm our hearts, not the bad times which snuck in now and then.

I'm happy knowing you have coped so well dear. I hope life continues to bring you new joys and many, many days of sunshine and warmth.

Your friend - Mary x

WOL said...

I've thought of you a lot this winter. Your higher latitude means your days grow way shorter than ours do. And it's way colder up there than here. I'm glad you've weathered them, and the light is waxing once again. I know it's hard for someone so long married to be faced with doing things alone again. You've had a time of pain and struggle. I hope what lies ahead for you is a time of taking stock but also a time of moving forward.

It's a time of cusps and thresholds for me too. I've finally had it with my absentee landlord and am moving in May. I'll face my own downsizing and decluttering, and learn to share a ceiling with the floor above again. My dad turns 92 in August. He's nearly blind, almost deaf, growing weaker, and more and more dependent. My mother and I are reminded daily that there are a finite number of days we will get to keep him. It has brought my mother and me closer, but I know I don't need to tell you how hard it is to stand by helplessly and watch. We'll make it, though, and so will you.

Kath said...

thankyou for sharing this thought provoking post. My reaction is, to be very proud of you, that you have come through these tough times and emerged the strong woman that you are. I respect you greatly.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I've been thinking of you so often - my birthday is the 25th so you come to my mind a lot more this time of the year. You have gone through a lot of changes and challenges and I'm so glad for you that you have worked/lived through them so well. Of course doing it well does not always mean it was easy - we understand that part too.

May you new "year" be more content - and more relaxing for you as you begin your seed planting - of both kinds. And I hope your snowy weather is done for the year - we have sunshine today - at last.

Shopgirl said...

I think anger is the hardest part of losing someone you love. I read your post, it was lovely. you are a strong woman indeed. It took me a long time to get over my Mama because I had a life time of anger that was never resolved. But time has been kind and yes, the good stuff does come, Bless you, Mary

Leanne said...

Julie, forgive my lateness in commenting. i read this several days ago, but had to rush off, i fully intended to return to comment but it slipped my mind.. huge apologies. Anyway, here now... a deep post, and yes, It took courage to turn your journey this last year or so into words. You have come through this period now, with peace with the past and hope for the future. Not a bad way to face the Spring. Your grass and flowers will return soon enough, as the wheel ticks ever on, and as they bloom, so will you. Life is different now for you, but different can be good, as i know from my own experiences.

Leanne xx