Springing Into Grief

How to appreciate those gerberas when someone you love may actually be pushing them up

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Happy Springtime, Grievers! The daffodils and daisies are in bloom, asparagus pilaf is on the menu, and before you know it you’ll be trading those snow boots for flip-flops. What a special time to be alive (unlike The Person You’re Grieving, who is very much still not alive despite the extra sunshine and pollen)!

Popular culture would have us believe that grief and winter go hand in hand — The icy temperatures! Overstuffed black parkas! A nonstop stream of junk food from Halloween through Valentine’s Day! —  but that Spring is a time for cleansing, renewal, and tiptoeing beyond the darkness of our living rooms. To which I say: Why not have both? You can have your grief and Springtime, too. Bright hues, pastel flowers, loudly sobbing in public bathroom stalls: there’s room for all! And if you look around your house, I bet you already have most of the items you need to make this your most fashionably grieving season yet.

Here are three of my favorite DIY projects for Springtime grieving.

1. The Perfect Springtime Perfume

Ingredients needed:
small glass or plastic bottle, preferably one with a spritzer or dropper
1 tbsp high-proof alcohol such as vodka
a few droplets of sweat*
¼ cup tears**

Mix everything together. Let the mixture rest for at least 24 hours. When ready, spray liberally. Let the compliments roll in.

*You know how your heart rate elevates whenever someone places a hand gingerly on your shoulder and whispers, “This too shall pass”? The sweat accumulated from moments like these works great! Try to scrape it off your skin as soon as possible. The best sweat, of course, results when someone tells you grief is a gift you’ll learn to value in time, or anything along those lines. This sweat smells like rage and there’s nothing hotter than the scent of rage.

**Do not worry if your tears mix with shower water or car lint or pieces of the sandwich you started eating when your mind drifted to that time The Person You’re Grieving explained that the exact same ingredients in both a taco and a burrito will always, always end in a burrito as the runner-up. The aroma will only be enhanced by these add-ons.

2. The Perfect Springtime Scarf

Ingredients needed:
All the anxiety festering inside of you stretched into one long chain

No crafting skills required! Simply find a way to extract your anxiety — I used an old ice cream scoop! — and stretch it into the longest, thinnest line possible. You will most likely wrap this several if not hundreds of times around itself in order to include all that beautiful, festive worry you’ve been holding in. This works particularly well if someone approaches you at a party where you’re doing your best not to drown and says to you, “You’re so anxious, it’s making everyone anxious!” and you laugh through your teeth because Ted has such a good point — ever since cancer took away the Person You’re Grieving and completely altered the way you view the world, you DO feel anxious enough for everybody. If you’re feeling particularly generous, make enough scarves for everyone at the party.

3. The Perfect Springtime Cloak

Ingredients needed:
Just yourself.

This is the easiest one of all. You simply wake up in the morning, take a deep inhale followed by an even deeper exhale, and forget for several sweet seconds that The Person You’re Grieving died. Inhale again. Exhale again. This time, remember. You don’t have to do anything else: your grief will reassemble itself and collect on your skin all on its own. Wear your grief cloak all day long and then wear it again the following day. Though particularly elegant in spring, as a bonus you can wear your grief cloak all year long.

For best results, try wearing your grief perfume, grief scarf, and grief cloak at the same time. Wear the whole ensemble for that wedding you’re attending in a few weeks. Put some spring in your step with these DIY looks and who knows? Maybe they won’t even notice you sobbing in a corner during the father-daughter dance.

Now go pick some daffodils!

Kristen Forbes is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon whose work has been published in Mutha Magazine, The Rumpus, Verily Magazine, Role/ Reboot, Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life, and other publications. She holds a BFA in writing, literature and publishing from Emerson College and an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University.

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