The Hurt and Hope of Spring


The month that my RobynApril was partially named for…..

Spring Sign

When I posted on our Compassionate Friends East of the River CT GROUP Facebook  wall about Spring – Help or Hurt- I was surprised by the responses.  I had told an 87 year old friend of mine, who has been counting the seconds to embrace the full arrival of SPRINGTIME, that for many, many bereaved people, SPRING brings not only April Showers, but  a Tsunami of Painful Reminders of What Is No Longer.  But the only two responses on Facebook were from those who, too, embrace Spring’s Light….

Do you find spring more painful?
The awakening and rebirth of nature, of the earth?
Does it tug at your heart or does it give you a sense of hope and lightness?

Where are your emotions as spring moves in?

 I feel refreshed with the new birth and growth going on around us. Working in my yard is therapeutic for me and I talk to [my daughter] while out there. My neighbors may think I’ve lost it, but that’s ok.
Spring I believe has a photogenic reaction with our bodies; when we embrace the rite of spring and rebirth and feel the sun and the longer lingering hours of light… it feels good because it does feel good; when we appreciate something our bodies release feel good chemicals that neurologically responds to an act of kindness and we feel good. Our body is so brilliant, we need to listen more to its input in our survival from trauma, from loss and with everyday living.
Listen to your gut, its probably right.

While not curled in a fetal position in a darkened corner, I am also not fully immersed in  sharing their “light”.


Byrd 11FI admit that weather wise, I would rather feel warmth, clothed in tank top (sharing Robyn’s Memory Tattoo with the world), shorts and sandals….rather than restricted by the bundling tight of heavy sweaters, coat, scarf and  boots; but, truthfully, stark winter “fits” better, sometimes, in some ways.  
This morning (at about 6:00 am when I wasn’t sleeping- AGAIN), I wrote to a dear friend, who loves my daughter too…

“While so many are rejoicing in the final arrival of springtime, I feel resentful and annoyed by the beauty, by the resurfacing of life, by always longing for her and never having her.”

I also know that THIS spring isn’t, so far, as painful, as the 4 springs before.

The spring of 2008, only 4 months after the dearth of mom, for whom I was painfully grieving, I lie in bed, absorbed in the sounds of life and spring and felt warmed and comforted.
It was beautiful, glorious APRIL!!!

And then,when the sun began shining and the birds began singing in the spring of 2009, I very nearly collapsed under the weight of their beauty.

I remember those first early waking moments of morning that I had cherished the spring before…
…the first time sleeping with the windows open and hearing the birds calling to each other as the day comes awake…

The month so loved that it had become part of my first born’s name!
I felt cushioned by HOPE, By LIFE, by CHANCES of NEWNESS.
Even in my Pain of Loss, I embraced The Spring of New Life.
The wilt cosmos flowers
And then, a year later, an eternity of 4 months following the death of my only daughter; my beloved friend and partner in business, fun and exploring life, hearing those once melodic sounds of awaking spring wafting through my windows felt like hot lava poured into my soul.  I sobbed, unable to comprehend how the world went on spinning, the sun kept rising, and life could begin anew, when my world had crushed.

I remember having to ask Jim to shut the windows against the sounds of spring.
The sunlight and joy, reminiscent of the opening scenes of once loved Disney movies, now taunted me and ripped me to the core.
My world had changed.
I had changed.
My Daughter had DIED.

How was it possible that life went on….

I moved a fan into my room to move the air and create a breeze and kept the windows shut.

Spring that first year, CRUSHED me further.

My heart shattered under heaviness that I was perplexed it could withstand and still keep beating.

More tears from the sky than the April Rains.

The month so loved that it had become part of my first born’s name….
no longer a friend,

Now added to my pain.

My RobynApril…..Gone from my earth plane life…..

Flower water in hotel bathroomSpring of 2013…

Not the crushing, compressing pain that it was 4 springs before…
It’s a TUG at my heart.
and it is a TUG OF WAR…
I know that I need it…
I know that I will begin to feel physically better as my body absorbs the Vitamin D
I know that the darkness of winter, though it better fits the pain in my heart, only amplifies the sadness
My bedroom windows remain shut, still this spring, not because of temperature, but because when those first morning birds begin to call to each other, I lie in hazy slumber, momentarily comforted by their songs…

And then it HITS!

My Robbie is Dead.
And I become fully startled awake, staring the day once again, in total opposition of the Me-Who-I-Once-Was, who woke up with a song in my heart

(and driving my Mornings, BAH HUM BUG Daughter CRAZY- earning her title for me of Perky Bitch  J  )
Sleep Gone.

Living Nightmares begun.

I know that I don’t relish or look forward to spring like I used to ~
Spring once was the proverbial breath of Fresh Air and Life Renewed….

 taking my little ones to the park, out for bike rides, the first cookout, shared lunches outside at McDonald’s or on a park bench, going for walks while holding hands and laughing….and then, as they got older and we began to be THE LINE DANCE FAMILY we once were: teaching and dancing outside in the BART’s parking lot
Spring would dance into our hearts and lighten not only the skies, but our lives!

Now, I don’t count the days, eager for spring to begin….
I am not happy about the rebirth all around me that will never bring the rebirth that I long for….
And it has created moments of intense sadness and longing….

BUT, I am also able to allow the warmth……

I admit that I am getting more desensitized.

Isn’t that insane!
We, as mommies, who carried our babies inside of us, now need to become desensitized in order to emotionally survive!
None of it is Right!  
None of it is Fair!


I KNOW that there are no magic words.
I KNOW that I need to live through this one breath, one tiny baby step at a time.
It is what I do.
It is what we all do.
So shattering.

Spring USED TO BE A Beautiful time of year.
Now it can feel mocking.
It is “funny” how the same sunshine that warms my face and used to make me feel glad to be alive, is now a painful reminder of a daughter who isn’t living here to share it.  
That same powerful sunshine can light and shadow simultaneously.

there are smiles
there is laughter
even though my heart can feel cold,
there are moments that I am filled with extreme love.
And, from what I am learning, the coldness does begin to dissipate and the warmth of memories past, life lived, and the connection to the hearts still beating,
begins to glow more brightly.

There are moments I contemplate making a T-Shirt….

Spring sucks T shirt edge
And then, I feel the warmth on my face, see plump robins return from their winter absence and I say hello to my daughter,
named for my love of nature and once favorite time of year.

Hello Robins

Hello Robyns
Hello My Robbie….

spring background Robyn