Friday, April 6, 2012

Stone Cold Fox

I seem to be reverting back to death. I am surrounded by it. Most people would say that is dark, and sad and scary, but I choose to have it all around me. I work with the group of grievers. Every Thursday morning we go for a walk on the mountain. It is a support group of sorts, the people come to be with each other and spend some time in one of the most lovely urban parks I have ever been in. A forest at the top of a mountain with the view of the city island. A big red fox lives there. He visits us sometimes, making us point and grin and notice a real live moment. He appears like Aslan's sarcastic brother, giving us a knowing and amused look. Life still exists it says, don't forget about magic.

I love this group. They are mostly men, which if you know anything about support groups you will understand how weird that is. There is a gentle giant ex pro football player, who is trying to recover from a broken heart at the death of his mum. There are some widows and widowers and a lovely urban hermit who has opted to come out into the world after loosing both parents in the space of two weeks. And there is one widow in particular, who I tend to mention, whose grace and humour and intelligence make me want to behave more accordingly.

Sometimes we talk about the weather, or a movie or a crying jag. We have coffee and the football player likes to bring sweet stuff treats, continually sliding pieces in front of me. Eat he says. Death has an effect. It makes people sad. It makes them ache. It makes them cry because it is irreversible. It takes time to learn to live with the absence. They come to us quite broken, and over the weeks we see them brighten, bit by bit. For some the group is the thing that lightens them, the new friendships, strangely enough, the laughter, the leaves, the trees, my shit eating dog. He comes with us and the men like to take his leash. Though they all get smiles when I let him run free as he dolphins thorough the snow.

I have a new love in my life and he has also been surrounded by death. But not by morbid choice like me. He is sweet. He thinks of things like what flowers he should grow in his garden for his mother who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Purple is a the colour of recovery he tells me. His thought to plant lambs ears so she could have something soft to touch melted my heart. He has a grandmother who is entering palliative care this week, and a dead father, and nephew, and the list goes on. He is American and we woo electronically. I want him to walk with us. I want somehow to show him the fox. There is still magic and beauty. A space is left when someone you love dies, it feels cavernous at first, but then it fills. It fills with people you would never have met otherwise. If you let it.