Glory of the Snow (Sandcastle 4.15)


It’s not enough.

There is nothing in this world I could give you to fill the abyss of your suffering. It’s like trying to fill a hole to the center of the earth with a single shovelful of dirt. You’re on the precipice, toes at the edge, pebbles coming loose and falling into a black hole of forever, and you watch them dive into the void, your body unconsciously leaning forward, closer…almost. You already feel like you’re falling. Why not take one more step and disappear into the grief? Wouldn’t it be simpler to let it wholly consume you?

You pulled me down that hole the moment I heard you cry out. To see you kneeling over the still body, your shoulders shaking…that wail. I’ve never heard a manifestation of such suffering before. To hear it pulled from the throat—lungs—soul of someone I love was a knife in my heart, not a single stab wound, but a torturous sawing at the heartstrings, a sword across a violin. It clenched my throat to trap my own grief while my eyes burned, blurring your form so all that existed was the sound of your hoarse sobs. Your eclipsing pain was so powerful that it clutched me in its shadow and drew me toward the very precipice where you wavered at the edge.

I stand here now in the wake of the numbness. The heavy silence exists only because our throats are sore and swollen and our tired eyes have emptied the reservoir for now.

I can’t bring her back, and I can’t comfort you. There is no consolation but time. The bulbs in my hand are not enough, but they’re all I have to give.

“Glory of the snow.”

Those are the only words I can croak out, and I choke on them. Chionodoxa luciliae, glory-of-the-snow, unborn flowers for a freshly covered grave. Maybe you’ll discover a tiny comfort in breathing in the scent of the soil, in feeling the crisp autumn air kiss your face and sweep away the damp hair matted in the streaks cutting down your cheeks, in sifting the cool earth through your fingers. The tears—if you can summon any from that void inside you—are free to roll off the tip of your cold nose and fall. A glory-of-the-snow will accept your tear and hold it through the frozen winter until spring’s early thaw. In the shadow of the gravestone, the flowers will bloom early, breaking through the frosted crust in search of sunlight, announcing the end of sleep and a promise of new life and beginnings.

Glory of the snow.


It’s not enough, but it’s all I have to give.






In loving memory of Shannon



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