Finding Spring Again

It is the end of February, which means we are

nearing the end of what has often been a brutal

winter. While gazing at the mountains of snow

piled high in my front yard and the foot-long

icicles hanging from my roof, it is hard to

imagine that spring will ever come. We have

endured bitter cold winds that have chilled us to

the bone and treacherous roads that we have

cautiously traveled. The days have been long

and dark and often free of sunlight. No matter

how long you have been a native of the Upper

Midwest, I know we all will be glad when it

comes to an end.


However, as I described these thoughts about

winter, I felt as if I was describing the days of my

early grief. At that point, I did not believe that a

day would ever come when I would thaw from

the chill that had overtaken my body and mind.

The bleakness of my existence during those

early months after Nina died is almost

frightening to remember; it is so difficult to even

conceive of that much pain. I was anesthetized

from some of its cruelness by the protective

blanket of numbness that blessedly shielded me

from the gale force of such overpowering

sorrow. How could I ever feel spring in my heart



Spring had always been my favorite season.

The air had a certain freshness to it that I would

drink in. Simply put, it always made me feel

happy and light of heart. Spring was our reward

for surviving the freezing winter months that

preceded it. It brought a smile to my face and a

bounce to my step.


However, it was the spring of the year where my

heart was irretrievably broken. It was during this

exquisite season of warm, lilac-scented breezes

and sun-kissed mornings where my sweet

daughter Nina’s life would end.


I wondered if my thoughts about spring would

never be the same. Rather than anticipate with

gladness the coming of spring, I dreaded it with

the knowledge that it contained the anniversary

of her death. The smell of the air and the look to

the sky that I once found exhilarating now brought

me back to my darkest day. I know that anyone,

who has lost a loved one to death, no matter

the season, understands.


Will spring come again to your life? In the almost

six years since Nina died, has it come to mine?

Looking back at my description of the winter of “my

early grief”, I know that I have come a long way

from that time of desolation. I have found,

especially after the first two years, that with each

subsequent spring, I have rediscovered some of

the pleasure I used to feel. I have learned that just

because I have found things to feel joyful about

again; it doesn’t mean I am dishonoring my

daughter’s memory. I now take her along with me

in my mind and my heart. I try to retrieve memories

of the dandelion bouquets she so carefully

gathered and presented to me, the rides to the

park in the Radio Flyer, our talks while sunning on

the deck, and, of course, shopping for spring

clothes! Her favorite pastime! I will always feel

tenseness, apprehension and sadness as May 11th

draws near, but I no longer hold it against spring.

It is a slow, difficult journey, this grief pathway we

travel. It is as treacherous as the roads we

maneuvered following the winter storms, never

knowing when we will hit an icy patch on the road

and be thrown into a tailspin. Yet, we must travel it

if we are to find any measure of peace and healing.


Please be patient with yourself as you are working

hard to survive this winter in your heart. Trust that

spring, though a much different one than the one

we knew before our beloved child died, will come



With gentle thoughts,


Cathy Seehuetter, Nina's mom forever

TCF/St. Paul, MN

About the Author
Cathy began writing about her grief not long after her beloved daughter Nina Westmoreland was killed at the age of 15--on Cathy's birthday--at the hands of a drunk driver. Her stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul, Open to Hope, Tincture of Time, and the Best of Bulletin Board, as well as numerous grief publications including Living With Loss and We Need Not Walk Alone. Cathy has served on the TCF National Board of Directors from 2004-2010, and is currently Minnesota Regional Coordinator and St. Paul, MN's chapter leader. Since that time, her stepson, Chris, took his own life in June of 2012, and she hopes to write about her journey as a bereaved stepparent and the complexities of a loss by suicide. She is the proud mom of her three surviving children and five wonderful grandchildren.
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