from jen, at glow in the woods:

Do you associate a certain place with your lost child, be it a city, home, or otherwise? How has that relationship changed since your loss?

effie died on a cold, crisp winter’s day. it was months before we saw signs of spring: rhododendron buds starting to color, bulbs nosing their way through the dregs of snow. but within days of her death i was craving grass. all i wanted was to sit on a patch of grass somewhere, somewhere in the sunlight. 

spring came with its rains and blossoms. snow melted to reveal greening grass underneath, but it was still wet and cold. muddy. i needed grass. i needed to sit in my little patch of earth.

i found this patch far from home a few months later when i went to a professional conference. i went to the conference’s opening activities and felt on the verge of a panic attack. i couldn’t introduce myself to all these people — to any of these people — without talking about effie, and maybe only about effie. but i couldn’t bear to open myself up like that, and i didn’t really think it would be appropriate anyway, and soon i felt like i would suffocate. so i gave up on the conference, and  instead spent a week with mac, hiking and sitting in the sun on gravel, on rocky mountaintops, in snow. and on grass. i found my grass.

and anonymity. nobody knew who i was and what had just happened to me, and nobody was failing to show me sympathy or care. we walked the city streets, invisible. at home we felt our loss was invisible, but here we were invisible. anonymity was more healing than i thought was possible.  it helped me step outside of myself, it helped me remember other versions of myself, it helped me not to burst into tears every time someone tried to talk to me.

between the anonymity and the grass i finally felt at home, at home in a place where neither i nor my children were known, at home in a way i could not have found anywhere else. and that sense of home will make that city very special to me, always.