By Dr. Paula Bloom
This week is my kids’ Spring Break. We’ll be going down to South Florida to spend it with family and friends. It will be a bittersweet trip.
April 5th is the one-year anniversary of the death of my dad. Talk about a life-changer. It took me until age 37 to lose someone close to me. I can’t belive it has been almost a year. I miss him every day.
As Spring begins, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the Life, Death and Rebirth cycle. I didn’t grow up with seasons and feel like I really missed out. I never got to see the beauty of leaves changing colors, the crispness of Fall which then leads to Winter. The experience of anxiously awaiting the Spring. Seeing the first daffodil. All things I had never lived.
Growing up without seasons really disconnects you from the earth. There was every vegetable and fruit available anytime. Since living here in Atlanta I find myself making apple crostadas in the fall and peach and plum tarts in the summer. I don’t have my own garden where I grow these things. I depend on my local farmer’s markets and generous green-thumbed friends. I like the idea of gardening (and of course the accessories such as the clogs and hats.) After years of buying flowers and plants with the intention of planting them and then letting them die I have come to accept that it is okay to buy fresh flowers at the market.
The cycle of life is an easy thing to talk about. As a psychologist, I’ve helped many people get through the pain of losing someone close to them. It is quite different to actually experience loss. I remember sitting on my deck after I received the call that my father had passed. I was both numb and in pain. The Spring had started and I remember looking around and thinking “How are the birds able to sing, how can flowers keep blooming on such a sad day? How can the world go on even without my dad? “
As I sat on my deck just a few days ago enjoying the birds and all that is in bloom I remembered what I felt one year ago. When good things happen with my kids or in my professional life my instinct is still to pick up the phone and call him. After many of my tv interviews I’d call him on my drive home. I could count on him to tell me how proud he was of me but also to tell me the truth. My dad was quite a truth-teller. I didn’t like it when I was younger. He would see right through my mask. I came to really appreciate that quality as I got older (and dropped the mask more and more.)
As I write this, I feel tears running down my face while I hear the rain falling out my window. April showers bring May flowers, right? While I’m still not happy about the death part of the life-cycle I am deeply grateful for the rebirth part.
I dedicate this blog post to my father, Louis Abramson. Rest in peace, Dad.