The Winter Trail

This week, my friend Peter Pollock is hosting a blog carnival on the topic of Grief. Truth be told, while I have experienced grief, I was really struggling to come up with a post. Then my friend Annie asked if I was still looking for guest posts. When she sent me this story, and I knew I had my post. A very special thank you to Annie for sharing her story.


Photo by Annie K

There was a light covering of snow on the ground as I made my way along the river trail. Two weeks had passed since I’d been there and I noticed that a lot had changed in that short amount of time.

I dressed for the elements, knowing that a storm had blown through the day before and unsure of how much snow I’d be traversing. Luckily there wasn’t much snow, but what there was had already been trampled by enough hikers to make the trail somewhat slippery.

I’d forgotten that as treacherous as each uphill is in the snow, it’s the downhill that I had to worry about. I began to question why I picked the hilliest part of the trail to hike and not just because of the conditions, but because I’d been sick for well over a week and my lungs were making sure I remembered that.

The last time I hiked the trail there were still some remnants of falls colors, with what leaves remained were clinging to their branches as if unwilling to succumb to their fate of spending winter on the cold hard ground. The squirrels were chattering and scurrying about and the birds were extremely vocal, especially when Boz encroached in their space.

Today, the woods were still except the lone crow who was flushed out of his hiding space and made no secret of his irritation with the rogue Boz-dog on the trail. The squirrels and birds were eerily silent and nowhere to be seen. The trees were completely bare and not a single leaf was spared, with the last ones to fall being scattered along the trail. I came upon a fallen aspen tree that a few weeks ago had been the picture of vibrance with all of it’s leaves in full fall color. Now, the leaves were gone and it was left laying on the ground, never to produce leaves again.

As I walked the trail and took in all the change that happens from spring, to summer, to fall and finally winter, I realized that my life in the past week resembled the trail that was preparing for winter.

You see, it wasn’t being sick that took the life out of me and brought on the season of winter, it was watching my daughter walk out the door without looking back. It was seeing her dark brown eyes turn nearly black as she spit out the words, ‘you need me…’ as she packed up her belongings. She said those words more than once and in several different ways in the time it took her to pack her worldly possesions.

You. Need. Me.

There was a moment where it hit me , and I don’t know who she was trying to convince. I’m not sure if she was saying that over and over to convince herself that yes, she was needed, or trying to convince me that letting her go was going to be the biggest mistake of my life. All I know is that two people were feeling dead inside as she walked past me and uttered, ‘whatever,’ as she walked out the door.

I have refused to cry or feel anything but anger and indifference. I don’t want to talk about what led up to my daughter leaving her home or why she screamed she hated me. I don’t want to let go of the anger because I know when I do that the hurt will come and it is going to be worse than anything I’ve ever felt. And, I know that once the tears start they won’t stop.

For now, the trail understands my pain. It is colorless, cold, empty of life and waiting. Waiting for the next season to bring hope of new life.

***

To read more posts on the topic of Grief, please visit the blog carnival at Rediscovering the Church

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19 Responses to “The Winter Trail”

  1. Helen December 1, 2009 at 2:38 am #

    >Annie, I will keep you and your daughter in my prayers.

  2. Glynn December 1, 2009 at 8:45 am #

    >Death is painful, but the grief when the loss or separation is from rejection is, in some ways, far worse. Yet where there's life, there's hope. Great post.

  3. sherri December 1, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    >Praying for this situation. You need each other, and I'm praying that her time away will reveal that to her. I know it will.

  4. sherri December 1, 2009 at 8:49 am #

    >Beautifully written Annie.

  5. ~*Michelle*~ December 1, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    >Praying for you and your daughter….I cannot imagine this form of grief you are experiencing as there is no closure. I am so sorry.

    Keep your eyes fixed on The Great Counselor for He is the Prince of Peace.

  6. JML December 1, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    >It's amazing how much we can hurt each other. I bet your daughter is a wonderful woman, but sometimes, it takes something special to get us to see eye to eye. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Billy Coffey December 1, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    >Praying for you and your daughter, Annie. You hang in there.

  8. Candace Jean July 16 December 1, 2009 at 9:52 am #

    >Love you and praying, Annie. 'Nuf said.

  9. Jojo Agot December 1, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    >I'm sure she'll come around someday. I know that from experience.

  10. S. Etole December 1, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    >Oh, Annie, may you find comfort in His love for you both.

  11. Marni December 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    >Annie…I just don't have words for you. I'm so sorry my friend. God knows what happened with you and your daughter and He knows what to do to fix it. I'll just join the others in asking Him. And I will keep you lifted up as you work through this. I pray peace that surpasses all understanding for you.

  12. jasonS December 1, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    >There's always hope- praying for you.

    Blessings…

  13. Peter P December 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    >Praying…

  14. Maureen December 1, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    >Sometimes one door must be shut before another can be opened. It is when the door is opened that light can come in.

    In time, perhaps, the door of understandable anger will close, so that the door to all those other feelings of hurt and loss can open fully. You opened that latter door a bit today; it's possible to see through the crack you who are deserving of embrace. His arms are open.

    Peace be with you.

  15. Corinne December 1, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    >Sending prayers your way, thank you for sharing such a beautifully written post.

  16. Bridget Chumbley December 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    >I have such a lump in my throat it's hard to catch my breath.

    This was beautifully written, Annie. I can feel your pain and share in your grief.

    Praying…

  17. vanityofvanities December 1, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    >Coming from the other side of a "walk-out" scenario, there's something inside of her that she just doesn't know how to handle. I pray that she'll learn, that you'll be reconciled, and that you'll find some encouragement in knowing that God will not waste your pain.

  18. Steph @Red Clay Diaries December 2, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    >Praying for you too, Annie. Lately I've been struck by how my behavior as a daughter must have hurt my mom.

    May she see God's perspective and gain the insight into herself that she needs.

  19. Bernadette Pabon ,Teacher, Director of CCD, Author December 2, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    >I always enjoy your post, for they bring me such insight that I passed in my life. This is a tough one, but you are surrounded by much love from God. Prayers are heading your way.

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