I dream I’m searching for healthy food in a large cafeteria, but can’t find nutritious food or even green tea and feel confused and lost. I turn around and my dead husband Vic stands facing me, masked as he would be during covid times. His brown eyes are sweet and tender. I’m surprised and relieved to see him even though I know he’s dead. As we gaze at each other, tears spill down my cheeks and fill my heart with love.
I miss Vic most in winter—the time of long nights, bitter wind, and cold days. He died in early June, so you’d think that would be my grieving time, but June is a season of Bluebird eggs, Robin songs, yellow Trout Lilies, and purple Lupines in the fields. When I walk the greening trails and find a bee on a spring flower, I’m filled with hope.
Near Winter Solstice, I walk in cold dampness with my dogs. I keep old Willow close when she’d rather go uphill and scavenge in the National Forest. She’s lured by the scent of venison.
“Willow, you can’t eat at the Deer Guts Café. You’ll make yourself sick.” I laugh despite myself. That was Vic’s name for hunting season leftovers.
“Vic, you never met Willow. She arrived over a year after you died and brought my first surge of joy. She’s almost 13 now and usually stays close when we walk, but that smell must be irresistible.” I put Willow on a leash as she looks up at me with disappointed eyes.
Willow surrenders and walks alongside me. Frisky Disco would rather be with her tribe than eat out so she circles us and sniffs the air.
“As I promised you, beloved Vic, I’m doing fine despite life’s challenges. After all these years, I still miss the way you held me and made me laugh. I miss sharing dreams and Solstice rituals. I miss your love of winter storms and snowshoe hikes. This covid time is heart-breaking, but when I walk to your cairn, my world is peaceful. I remember your tender eyes and patient kindness. I watch the setting sun and fill my hungry heart with love.
“The dark Underworld feels close at Winter Solstice, but so are your loving eyes. Dreaming of you in the dark season connects me with grief and living love.”
For a post about creating a grief ritual at the time of year Vic died, see Creating a Grief Ritual: Love, Loss, and Continuing Bonds. For a blog about how my dogs helped me find joy and love again, see I Rescued a Puppy and She Rescued Me.