Reminders of Death, Reminders of Life

It’s a late February morning as I type this. I am back in cold Boston after a respite in warm and sunny Southern California followed by warm, humid, and sunny Central Florida.

It is never easy coming back to the cold. I describe myself as solar powered, someone who functions best when sun is ever present and palm trees are in the background. Whether you have ever been to Boston or not, I think you all know that this is not my current reality. February in Boston is best described as cold, grey, and lifeless. There are no promising shoots viewable in the ground. It takes faith to believe that February will ever be over and that spring always comes.

Besides being cold, February will always be a month where I pause to remember my brother’s death. It was two years ago this year. Two years since a dreaded phone call and the grief that followed. Two years where we could have used his hard earned life wisdom. Two years ago I walked through the door of the permanent loss that death brings and am slowly learning to embrace an existence where longing is a breath away, and I accept sadness as a permanent fixture of the gladness. Yet, within this is a mystery, because it brings me closer to the One who understands death, pain, and sickness like no other. I don’t understand this mystery, and I never will. But I lean in. 

As I lean into the cold and grey reminders of death, I find reminders of life. These are like dewdrops of surprise after a dry spell and I find I must write them down. I am grateful for long walks in warm weather; for an extended family wedding where a new couple began life together, the sacrament of marriage once more publicly declared before family and friends; for foliage that takes your breath away; for a fresh mango sliced with lime juice and tajine; for a walk through a wildlife preservation, jumping and wary every time someone mentioned an alligator. Yes – and even for a return where today is 50 degrees and my home is filled with sunshine.

I recently heard a phrase in a song that continues to go through my mind. “So always remember to never forget'” and while it has nothing to do with February, the words are gold.

Reminders of death, reminders of life – May I always remember to never forget and may my February days be reminders of the mystery of both.

How about you? How is your February?

5 thoughts on “Reminders of Death, Reminders of Life

  1. I enjoyed this posting. February (in New England) for me is being “in the thick of it” while also knowing March is looming. Hoping this year will be easier on the world. Prayers for peace.

    Like

  2. Thank you for your piece. The juxtaposition of life and death, the pain and promise!

    Here it is yet stubborn summer. And each February I read this poem:

    LATE SUMMER
    by C S Lewis

    I, dusty and bedraggled as I am,
    Pestered with wasps and weeds and making jam,
    Blowzy and stale, my welcome long outstayed,
    Proved false in every promise that I made,
    At my beginning I believed, like you,
    Something would come of all my green and blue.
    Mortals remember, looking on the thing
    I am, that I, even I, was once a spring.

    Like

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