I am riding in the car with my husband, windows partially down, wind blowing my hair, enjoying the smell of the damp spring air after the rainstorm. We round the corner, passing a row of pine trees as the memory hits me with the same force that a pitcher’s ball connects to a well-placed bat.
It is just after a thunderstorm and my childhood friend and I have our see-through umbrellas open to catch the last of the raindrops as we watch the sky for the ever-present threat of lightning. The ripple of sound makes our hearts pound as the thunder travels away through the darkened sky.
The ground is damp, water sloshing through our flip-flops as we run between our houses rushing toward our fort. The Millers have three pine trees in their small backyard, their pruned trunks forming the floor of the pretend fort where my friends and I play, and we have finally arrived!
Anyone experiencing grief knows that it takes one smell, one look or one taste to travel back in time. Burying your face in their shirt, an everyday scent stimulates a memory of the last time your loved one wore it. A drive through the small town where you found that wonderful restaurant causes your mouth to salivate. The photo album containing years of celebrations documents the times spent before…before you lost the person you love.
My recent drive after the rainstorm reminded me of a loss I don’t often visit – the reality that I have lost someone I especially love…ME! Grief this week comes from missing my inner child, the curly-haired voyager who wasn’t afraid of storms. I grieve for the little girl who skipped and used her imagination and danced under the trees. Where have you gone? Come out from under life’s losses, take a big deep breath and skip down the sidewalk once again.
Have you lost your inner child? What memories of your childhood would you like to recreate?