It’s been unseasonably warmish here this February. The other day the kids wanted to eat popsicles outside.

Okay, it’s not that warm, but whenever my kids see a patch of blue sky and sunshine, if the temperature is above 40 in February, it’s summer to them. And they eat popsicles as they turn blue and ask if we can open up the pool.

I have some feelings about this winter, though. I complain about the cold and the snow. Every time I get in my car, I am actually surprised at how cold it is.

Every time.

I don’t know why I do this, but I do. The cold always catches me off guard, perhaps because of my sunny disposition. 🙂

Anyway, this winter went by really fast, mostly. Some days did seem to drag on forever, but here I am on February 15th and there is not a single patch of snow on the ground and people are seeing baby flowers popping up…

and it feels like spring is just around the corner, because it is.

A few weeks ago, I would have laughed at the idea that it would be this warm, this bright and sunny. In fact, a few weeks ago I thought winter would never, ever die.

And I know it probably will get cold again–winter will have one last stand against the inevitable oncoming spring, but it will be a moment and then–sunshine and green grass and leaves on the trees….

Isn’t that how it is with grief? It seems like it will never end sometimes–and then suddenly–quite suddenly–it feels like it’s time to go on. To let it fade away. The ice begins to thaw, and it feels like perhaps spring may come again–there might even be some blue.

Even that small ray of sunshine feels so very warm in comparison to the cold and dark that I have grown accustomed to, yet am constantly surprised at the biting intensity of the frigid winters of grief I experience.

And it seems that just when I decide I can let go of it all and open my heart to the idea of feeling really, truly happy, it comes again–a blizzard of hurt and anger and sadness and darkness, and the force of it takes my breath away.

Then it’s gone and I am standing in green grass growing at my feet wondering how I can make sense of this beautiful, terrible, wonderful life.

And then I can say goodbye to certain things, certain heavy drifts of grief I have been carrying, and I feel lighter and warmer and brighter.

Oh, I know that winter will come again, and, like the snow that falls, each frigid flake of grief is unique and different and I wonder at how I can feel that many different shades of pain, but I know it is somewhere out there in my future, silently waiting for me.

It is comforting to know that there will always be spring and that the winters are part of this journey I take around the sun, over and over. There is purpose in it.

The overcoming of the winters of my grief changes me every time.

I become stronger and deeper and, yes, kinder for every winter I face. I am better able understand the grief every human being who has ever loved bears until at last we each, in our time, finish our final circle around the sun.

And by then, I know I will understand that through all of the winters, there was always the promise of spring, and beyond the spring, an eternal summer where the light never stops shining and the grief is forever melted away in the warmth of “a grace too powerful to name.”