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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

Michael and I were sitting in a restaurant a few weeks ago and Michael was all glued into his phone (this is ironically funny because he used to tease me about being on my phone all the time and now it's him that's on his phone all the time). He said "It's going to be twenty degrees colder next week than it was this week." This statement caused me to slump in my seat and frown. I looked at him and said "winters get harder and harder every year." He told me it's because as I get older my bones get closer to my skin. I just responded to this with a raised eyebrow. I doubt seriously that my bones are any closer to my skin this winter than they were last winter or the winter before that.

It's just that something happens during the winter solstice and a switch gets flipped in my brain. A melancholy sort of settles in like a storm system and I feel like I'm struggling to be positive and joyful. Maybe this is the year I start taking drugs. I say that to myself every year. At the very least, maybe this is the year I buy one of those therapeutic sun lamps or maybe this is the year I just become resigned to the fact that winter is hard for me. Winter represents the taking away of good things. Warm sunshine. Scooter rides. Bicycle rides. Comfortably being outside. Chris. It dawned on me today while I was in savasana that for the life of me I could not remember the sound of his voice. Could not. Can not. I can't remember what Chris's voice sounded like. The realization of this was an Icee in the face. I even gasped for air like you would do when surfacing from a frozen swimming pool. Moments earlier, I'd come up into Warrior I with a giant smile on my face. Now I was racking my brain trying to remember the last thing I heard him say (coherently) and struggling to breath.  Bipolar grief. 

Then I get angry and I start remembering the few things about Chris that pissed me off. Like how he would say that any time I asked him to do something, I was nagging him. So much of the stuff in the basement is garbage that Chris couldn't get rid of when we moved up here. Now they're things I don't know how to get rid of. I never told you about the dreams I had where Chris was really mean to me. He said hateful, awful things to me and I know it's irrational to be mad at someone for what they did in a dream, but I sure am mad at afterlife Chris for saying those mean things to me. I want to make the excuse that it's the cold that makes me disgruntled. It's the angle and distance of the sun from the earth that makes me cranky. Disgruntled and cranky are just alternative emotions for dealing with the memories that these are the months where everything turned to shit for a little while. For a long while. 

The other day, I found myself getting really irritated because someone in front of me wasn't doing something the way I'd do it. There is a stubborn I-am-right-about-everything streak that bubbles up inside me at times and I have to remind myself that I am not right. My way is not better. Their way is not wrong. It's all just different. In that moment I decided to stop being angry over choices other people make because those choices are their's, not mine. It's like being angry over spilled milk that you didn't even spill. What if I did that now? Applied that theory to winter and grief? I didn't chose any of the events that led to everything turning to shit. Neither did Chris. Those things just happened. Just because. It's the answer that you give every four-year-old after they've asked "why?" fifty bagillion times. Yes. It is an incredibly unsatisfying answer. We inherently want things to be more, mean more than "just because". Sometimes there is more than "just because", like finding my scooter key when I found it. Mostly there is not more than "just because". 

Friday, I let Michael talk me into buying a new winter coat. The coat I had been wearing was bought for Oklahoma winters. I had to wear an extra layer under it here and then the zipper went wonky during Christmas break. So, I grumbly agreed that it was time for an upgrade. I now have a coat that is more suited to Kansas City winters. It keeps me warm without adding an extra sweater.  And because it keeps me warm, I was able to take back something that winter likes to take away. I was able to comfortably take my walk outside. When the sun finally broke through the cloud cover, it may not have been close enough to physically warm my face, but it emotionally warmed my heart.