Second Spring

Lindy Thibodaux
6 min readMar 20
Photo montage of my daughter Valerie, with title “Second Spring”.
My daughter, Valerie. She always loved my photo montages. (Photos and montage design are my own.)

March 20, 2023 — the first day of Spring

Dear Valerie,

I went for a walk this morning, along what was one of our favorite routes, especially this time of the year. I saw camellias and narcissus and hellebores blooming, and one tree covered in tiny pale lavender-pink blossoms. For the Pacific Northwest, where people are often out cutting their grass in February, spring does seem to be coming slowly this year, which is fine with me. Several weeks ago (probably around Groundhog Day, now that I think about it), I realized that I was approaching the second spring since you died. And I’m really not ready for this.

There’s something about having gone through four complete seasons without you that makes this new spring even harder. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it has something to do with the conventional idea of a year of mourning; will there be an expectation that I am now “over it”, when there is no getting over your loss? Will people assume I’m now “back to normal”, when I can’t go back, and I don’t even know what normal means any more?

Spring in general seems to be synonymous with renaissance, a season of renewal, growth, change — all of which come with unknowns. Maybe that’s why it feels like I have even more questions than usual lately, and even fewer answers. If any at all.

Since you and I have both been Agatha Christie fans for a long time, you will probably recognize “second spring” as the title for the section of her autobiography that came just after her beloved mother had died, shortly after which her first husband left her with no warning. She described this period as “a year I hate recalling”. (I can relate.) For me, the phrase “second spring” evokes fresh starts, reinvention, transformation, especially at a point in life where one may have thought such things were no longer possible. But now, since losing you, the idea of a second spring in my own life brings up another conundrum to add to my list: simultaneous anxiety (“What will I do now?”) and hope (“Can I be open to anything now?”).

In the spring of 2022, which came only weeks after you died, I could barely go out the door. Seriously. Just going to the grocery store was so stressful that I would be exhausted for the next few days. (The difficulty of grocery shopping when grieving is something I wish…

Lindy Thibodaux

Writes about the transformative power of color. Designs. Plays piano, speaks French, dances Argentine tango. Loves.