I don't like it.
Here in my northeast corner of the country, March is typically cold, dreary skies with drippy, dirty snow everywhere. Roaring in like a lion proves true. March doesn't saunter in with a bright smile. It's foul weather for foul moods.
March is the month my mother died from breast cancer and ever since, March reminds me of death, not the birth of spring. No matter how hard it tries.
Though some years, it takes a few days. I'll go about my business without a thought of that moment twelve years ago, but inevitably I'll wake one early March morning with a start, swearing I'd forgotten something, enduring a nagging, clinging feeling that lasts all day.
What have I lost?
Then I remember, all of it. And it all seems so familiar now, like scenes from a sad movie. Memories of a family holding vigil by a bedside, quietly coming and going. Whispered voices, a sleeping face, a turban askew. The chilly, dark weather providing the perfect backdrop for the grief within the house, inside all of us.
I can't write of happy things in March. Even now, years later.
Sorry, March -- I know it's not your fault. You're a victim here, caught in a tragedy, forever to be seen as the month of endings. Wrong place, wrong time.
Now, I spend these days pretending this month is like any other, but reminders are everywhere forcing me to face my loss.
In my son's school for library duty I accidentally come across the Kindergarten in the hall. My son's teacher calls out. He'll be happy to see me, she says. Someone is missing Mommy.
Near the end of the line my little guy was walking, head down, mouth turned under bearing some unseen weight. He hadn't yet spotted me, but when he did he made a beeline for my side. Without words, I knelt down, scooped him close and hugged as if our lives depended on it, as if I needed it just as much.
I hugged hard remembering someone who's gone.
I hugged hard because I'm still here.
I hugged hard enough to carry us through the unknown years ahead and I hugged hard because I knew how he felt.
After a minute I pushed away asking if he would rejoin his class. He said yes and went off to finish his day cheered up by an unexpected rush of mommy love.
I went off too, feeling a bit better, hoping the power of that hug in this month of March when I'm missing my own mother, will last a long, long time.