This time last year I was numb with grief and by the end of the month, I was sick, exhausted and numb. I had one kid with pneumonia and one with a broken foot. Hombre had bronchitis and so did I. Dirty laundry had reached a never before seen high water mark and funeral flowers filled the house.
I made up my mind. I declared it "The Summer of Fun." And so it was. For the most part. Father's Day, full of memories, came and went, along with 4th of July fireworks and swim meets. I felt Mom and Dad's absence keenly.
We wisely went ahead with our Great American Road Trip, which turned out to be the best possible salve for an aching heart.
Somehow it was time for school again; mornings cool and misty, evenings a wee bit crisp. No one to call with the annual first day of school report.
We picked apples and grapes; canned applesauce and grape jam. We ordered fire wood and raked leaves. Celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. Some of us pierced our noses.
We toasted them at Thanksgiving, their absence too obvious to be ignored.
We wondered what Christmas would be like without them. We discovered, like the Grinch did, that nothing can stop Christmas from coming.
Our family gathered, in large numbers, as it always has and laughed and talked and ate and drank; missed them and thanked them for having taught us to value the precious time spent with each other.
The busyness of clubs and teams and scouts shuttled us through January and February.
With March came Mom's birthday; with April, Dad's. Last year's birthday celebrations had been tinted blue, since we knew then that they'd likely never see another. And yet we had celebrated.
April brought us crocuses, daffodils and then tulips. Forsythia and crab apple dressed for the prom, flouncing in the breeze. The trees exhaled green mist and then it was May.
It had arrived in all its dewy beauty, just like last year. The fresh prettiness that had been like a slap in the face of my sorrow last year seems so joyful this year.
There is no keeping these seasons at bay. Come they will and with them the memories. But each year adds another layer of memories, happy and sad, slowly building the mural of a life.