Taking Life As It Comes

In a group text conversation, several women I know mentioned how they could hardly wait for spring, and it struck me as odd. The sentiment, of course, isn’t odd; in fact, it’s understandable, considering the heavy snows and arctic temperatures we’ve been served this winter. What is odd is that I am so out of the habit of longing for things to be different that I had forgotten other people were still in the habit.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad the weather is clearing, even temporarily (more snow on the way!), and I am glad that we’re returning to more normal temperatures for this time and place, but it never occurred to me to want something different. This is what I have, so this is what I have to deal with. Admittedly, these arctic times are worrying; I have an old car, a battery that’s past its prime (though technically, it still has a couple years of use left), and an old house. I won’t know if there’s any problems with the car until I try starting it when it warms up a bit more, but a frozen water pipe was my only problem with the house, and even that wasn’t a problem. It was defrosted quickly, and it gave the workers a chance to insulate the pipe and to see a crack in the foundation that needs to be fixed. (The crack would have been fixed if the weather had cooperated; they’d bought the necessary supplies right before the snows came.)

What also is odd about my reaction to that conversation is that I hadn’t realized how much I really do live for the day. I make plans, of course, and worry way too much (though I am trying not to), but longing for things — even something as minor as weather — to be different died somewhere during my decade of deaths. (During a ten-year span, not only did Jeff die, but so did both my parents and the two brothers closest to me in age — one a year older, one a year younger.)

No amount of longing, wishing, hoping, changed one iota of those deaths or my grief. Nor did it change any of their lives. My parents lived long and happy lives, but Jeff and my brothers all died relatively young, and at least one of them had a miserable life. And I could not go back and change a single thing about any of it.

So a long, hard winter? Child’s play compared to all that. Besides, as I have learned, things change. Spring will come, bringing its own problems (wind!!), and then summer, and before we know it, we’ll be back in the midst of winter. There’s no real point in wishing my life away, in longing for something that’s either laid to rest in the past or is yet to be unearthed in the future.

Of course, this is today. By tomorrow, I might be longing for spring as much as everyone else, but for now, for today, I’m taking life — and the weather — as it comes.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator