Skipping Winter


Pain. It’s part of life. Yours. Then your sister’s. Then yours. Then your nephew’s. Yours. Then your friend’s. Your siblings’, parents’, and strangers’.

Pretty soon, you better learn to manage this shit. Or make peace with it. You can’t keep pretending things are going to smooth out for good at some God-approved time and la-la-la, from here on out, we’ll have only spring!

Somehow, absurdly, optimistically, we keep thinking we’ll skip winter. Or, may they all be mild. Some years, we might like to go to the beach. So, make it warm, but not too hot. Eighty-five and a breeze, please. No rain.

I used to say, “I hate it when it rains at the beach.” Now, I say, “If I’m at the beach, I’m happy.”

The first time my boyfriend Kevin took me to the beach in Florida, I told him, “If I’m depressed someday or on my deathbed, just bring me back here and set me in a chair to be soothed by the ocean waves.”

He said, “Okay.” In that moment, I pictured being old with him. It was the spring of our relationship. He was falling for me and I was following behind.

All those 25 years I knew him and never considered dating him. Ha! I thought he was a player, until he decided to get serious with me.

I watched Kevin crack before me like a coconut. Inside: purity—the rich white meat of his soul. The juice of his spirit ran free without his personality protecting him. I couldn’t have imagined the magnificence that man carried. Or that he could heal my scars and nourish my heart.

Did you ever want a clean slate? To be able to get into a relationship with your long lost hopeful innocence rather than a long list of things that could go wrong?

That’s what happened when Kevin’s shell cracked. Mine did, too. He was a bad boy gone good. I was a woman at peace with herself—finally.

We walked through the seasons in love, holding hands. Then came his death, sudden and worse than the coldest, darkest winter in Minnesota.

I thought I said no more winter! Ah, “we plan and God laughs.” Yet, because of Kevin, I hold out for spring. And summer. And fall. I embrace it all.

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