After a very snowy winter here in Rhode Island, we are more than ready for spring to come. Just a few days ago I noticed the first crocuses peeking their hopeful heads out of the dead leaves. I was so excited, I said to Gabriel, "Let's go outside and look at the flowers!" We went out and he enjoyed seeing something new on the ground. I had to caution him not to step where other bulbs might still be trying to come up and he carefully stepped out of the garden. Today is colder, like winter just won't let go. But I am still hopeful that spring is coming - and soon.
My feeling of hope and optimism about the coming of spring is so different from how I felt six years ago. In 2007, after Natalie died, I just wanted the world to stop. I actually expected everything to stop. It was unfathomable that people were going about their everyday lives when my world had come to a tragic, crashing halt. I wasn't mad at anyone in particular, but in the collective universe that didn't stop. In my grief-stricken insanity, I was even mad at the weather. Spring represented the promise of new life, hope, and joy. Things that were robbed from me when Natalie died. How dare it come?!
It didn't take long before I realized that being mad at Mother Nature was pretty silly. Just as you can't stop time from moving forward, you can't stop the natural cycle of the universe. By the time summer rolled around that year, I had embraced nature and gardening in particular as I set about creating Natalie's Garden, a special place in our yard that is dedicated to our beautiful girl. Creating the garden became the best form of therapy for me that first year. I lovingly planted the various flowers, plants, and small trees that I carefully purchased or were donated by friends and family. There are special heart-shaped rocks, sculptures, and our Mother's Day stepping stones, a tradition we have continued over the years since. In 2009, I expanded Natalie's garden and I am looking forward to completing that side of the yard this year when we add a fig tree and another sitting spot.
Today is March 15th and we'll be going to the Cold Stone Creamery tonight to honor sweet Natalie. I'm doing my best to get through this difficult day, and the promise of spring and the sweet memories of my angel-girl are enough for now.