The Weather of Loss

There’s something oddly comforting about weather that reflects one’s emotions. While we’ve had a rather mild winter here, it’s still February, a month that is unpredictable at best, a month when the best days are still cold, with a wind off the ocean that bites through your clothes, no matter how well-prepared you think you are when you leave the house. The colors of the landscape are muted, the grass dormant, with only a vague hint here and there of the resurgent growth to come in the spring. There is often a chill fog over everything that mutes the colors even more, makes you strain your eyes looking for details, landmarks, the road you are on as you try to find your way home. The cold, the biting wind, the rain and snow, the fog, even the indifferent sun on clear days, all of February’s weather here makes you cautious, damped down, slow. At night, the weather’s treachery multiples, sometimes painfully so. It’s easy to get lost.

It’s the perfect metaphor for grief. I feel like I am wrapped in a cold fog, even when I’m out of the weather. I put one foot in front of the other. I go to work. I come home, crawl into bed, pull an extra blanket over me. I find it hard to think, to organize my day, to remember what I’m supposed to do. Often, I cry. Always, underneath everything, I think of Rachel. Thoughts of her are never far from the surface.

It’s painful to think of her, but I can’t stop myself. And I don’t want to. I want her to stay alive in my heart — laughing, determined, wise, generous. Helping me figure out how to go on without her. My ability to go on is minimal right now, but I know that slowly, my grief will transform itself, like spring transforms the landscape, into light and clarity. But it cannot be rushed. I cannot change my weather, but I can endure it.

Text of my eulogy for Rachel, at her Memorial Service on 11 February, 2012.

This entry was written by Kathi, posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 10:02 am, filed under Art & Music, Life & Mortality, Metastastatic Breast Cancer and tagged . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

21 Responses to “The Weather of Loss”

  1. Lovely, Kathi. The weather here’s not as drear as on your side of the Atlantic, but the feelings are the same. And Sarah’s working so much on the film of Rachel’s service, I keep wondering when Rachel’s going to speak, instead of all the rest of you speaking about her. And then I remember and, as you say, endure. xx

  2. xoxo, Ronnie. I am mostly speechless these days. My heart’s too full.

  3. missing Rachel too… i often think of her. La bise Kathi!

  4. Merci, Cathie. Je t’embrasse. xoxo

  5. Ah yes Kathi. Sigh. I want to keep Rach alive in my heart too. Sarah

  6. I wish I’d known Rachel as well as you and Sarah, but she’s had a profound effect on all of us. Last week, 2 women I know were diagnosed with BC, and I found myself really angry. Really angry! It’s astounding how much women endure, and for the most part, we do it quietly. However, it’s hard to silently standby while more of us are diagnosed without an answer in sight.

  7. Sarah, I don’t think we’re in danger of forgetting Rach. Ever. She’ll always be in our hearts. xoxo

    I know, Bren, I know. The healthcare system makes me insane right now, cancer makes me insane, the political climate in this country around women’s health, ensuring that the uninsured have access to healthcare, so many things — they all make me really angry right now, too. And don’t even get me started on Komen…but I know we’ll all keep speaking out, as we can, as is our wont.

  8. Very poignant and very true. Thinking of you, Kathi and sending warm hugs.

  9. (((((KAK)))))

  10. Beautiful, Kathi. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

    I find that there is a loneliness to this grief too, because Rach was mainly an online friend. People don’t “see” our loss the way they would if she had been somebody we had a more visible and public connection to.

    Sending love, sweet friend.

  11. Sharon, hugs back. Been thinking of you and our friend, the ‘other’ KK lately. xoxo

    Stacey & CB, it’s hard to explain our online connections to others who don’t experience them. It is lonely, especially now, and yet that does not change the intimacy and reality of these connections.

    I’m grateful you are all here. xoxo

  12. I’m lonely, too, Kathi. I miss Rach’s voice. I was looking at something earlier on another blog… I thought it was new…. and then I got to the comments and I saw, “Anna Rachnel says” and I just began to cry. And to think…. I’ve only been part of this community for seven months…..

    If you decide you need a trip, head this way. Tobey and I will keep you entertained and God knows, I could use your Amazon strength right now…


  13. Thanks, AM. It would be lovely to hang out with you & Tobey. Hugs.

  14. So true, Kathi.

  15. What a poignant expression of your grief. February weather can be so temperamental, just as we can. My thoughts and prayers go out to you as Rach’s loss seeps into your soul over the ensuing days.

  16. […] The weather really affects my moods too (which is a pity for me living in a country of gray skies and rain!)  but sometimes the gray weather perfectly matches our moods and this is the theme of Kathi’s latest post The Weather Of Loss. […]

  17. Sending you support during your grieving. Even if it’s just over the web.

    On a side note, I noticed how quiet thing have been on everyone’s blogs and I wondered if they, like me, are just tired. Tired of the pain of it all. I’m guessing some of that is true.


  18. One foot in front of the other. It’s all we can — or need — to do. xoxo

  19. Thanks, everyone.

    I must say, I’ve noticed, too, how relatively quiet the blogosphere has been among us. And yes, I think we’re all tired. Between Komen’s nonsense, followed immediately by the loss of Susan and Rachel, it’s all been too much.

    Sometimes, we all just need to go with that, have some thoughtful peace, hunker down, and recharge our batteries.

    Love to you all.

  20. Kathi,

    I didn’t mind the gloomy weather while recently vacationing. It seemed fitting somehow. So this post really resonates with me. There is a very real empty space in the blogosphere and in the real world, too, of course. It’s not the same without Rachel’s voice in the mix. I keep expecting to hear her somehow or see a post or comment pop up. Crazy I know, but… Still, we have to move forward, keeping her alive in our hearts. I think we’re all trying to figure out how to do that. It’s going to take us a while to regain our footing, but we will. We must. And we won’t forget.

  21. Beautifully poignant piece, Kathi. Our minds must be connected, as I just posted about gloomy February weather and loss. I miss Rachel, too. I keep expecting her snarky blogs to keep coming up, but they are gone.

    You are not alone. We will always carry her in our hearts.


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