Spring is coming back. It used to be a time to be hopeful, a time where light returns and we get to breathe in fresh air and take in the sunshine. Two years ago this vision was spring was interrupted and replaced by a time that was characterized by fear and uncertainty.
This year it’s hard to know what to feel. The sun is out more and the sky is more blue. There are small flowers blooming and lots of birdsong. But if it wasn’t for those little glimpses of the season’s normality, it’s hard to tell that we’re going into a brighter and lighter season. The darkness of the past few years looms over us even when the sky is bright blue above us. The grief and memories haunt us and we are walking on eggshells even if those eggshells are dispersed among the blooming daffodils. While we look at those very flowers we think of the places in the world where these have no chance to grow or they will be quickly and violently trampled.
For me, this will be my first Easter without two important family members. Easter was a big holiday in my family. We all enjoyed it. Coloring eggs, eating lots, getting and giving chocolate eggs and little toy rabbits. I dread it now because I don’t want it to come without those people who I loved and who loved the holiday more than most.
Will we be able to embrace the warmth and hopefulness of spring despite our worries, fears and grief? We will have to wait and see. Enjoy the flowers in the meantime and be grateful for every time you get to look up at the open blue sky.
I have to give credit where credit is due. I first came across this concept from the amazing Stacey Heale. I read it on one of her Instagram posts months ago and have not been able to let it go. In the last two years especially life has been governed by fear for many of us. There was a period where every morning I woke up with fear deep in my stomach before even starting the day. However, it has also made me realize that the fears I once had are not worthy of my time and energy anymore. These fears include things like
What will people think if I wear that?
What if someone doesn’t like that?
What if I look stupid or make a mistake?
I think you get the pattern. We have been facing a type of fear that I had hoped never to face in my lifetime. The only positive thing to come out of this fear is that it eclipses my small fears. Now I’m no longer afraid to wear what I want. Or tell people what I think.
The biggest thing I had been saving for when I wasn’t afraid anymore was writing. More specifically, sharing my writing. Here. I have to say despite my own little pep talk (which I have repeated to myself for months) I am still a little scared to click the launch button. I worry that I’m oversharing or that someone will find this and think I’m silly or overdramatic. Or just hate my style. But if I don’t do it now, I never will. If you’re reading this I did it. I did something I would only do if I wasn’t afraid anymore.
As a child I thought that adults were invincible. I thought that they didn’t get scared, that they didn’t feel pain. I guess that’s because I was so protected. I was lucky to be in a family where whatever pain my parents felt they hid pretty well for many years.
As I got older I understood that of course that wasn’t the case, but I still looked at my parents as a stable foundation. As cliché as it sounds, I thought bad things don’t happen to my parents because they’re my parents. They’ll live long happy lives and be with my through my own. The realization that that is not the case is a difficult one to have. Mostly because it usually comes as a direct result of tragedy.
While my mother was in cancer treatment I realized that she was going to die. Maybe not today or tomorrow but some day. As I watched her get weaker and weaker, I realized that adults can’t do everything. They most definitely feel pain. The first time you see that, it’s very disconcerting. That’s when you know that you’re not a child anymore. When you are the one that your parents see as invincible and not the other way around. When you are the one hiding your pain from them so as not to scare them.
This year I lost two people who I truly had believed were invincible. They were so strong and so happy all the time, I had never seen either of them shed a tear, scream or shout. They were healthy all their lives, and never let anything get them down. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. They were incredible people. People like that can’t die. And yet they do. The Invincible Adult is a myth. I see that now. Because I’ve watched all the strongest adults around me crumple and now I’m an adult and I’m most certainly not invincible.