Each spring for three years I visited my daughter in Berlin. Early spring, tulips in all the shops but not the gardens, blankets still hanging on café chairs, the snow crusty around urban trees in their patches of dirt, teams of workers raking and chatting, rain and sometimes snow falling, the sky like the history often heavy, then suddenly bright. Happenings in Templehof.
Outside my window here in Toronto, cars swish along the wet street. This year I’m not rushing off to Germany because my daughter is back. Yay!
But something of her, of us, is missing. Scenes of the Berlin streets, of the market stalls along the Kreuzberg canal, bridges over the Spree, the galleries and museums, cafes, shops come uninvited into my mind and slice up my heart. I think, I’ll go back there without her, why not? At night I take out my German grammar and for a moment, feel soothed. But I know that in Berlin I would wander around with my heart aching even worse, my daughter gone, the city empty of what I want.
When the memories crowd in, I think of clients I work with whose intrusive thoughts are post traumatic, often violent, who have to learn to recognize them as no longer connected to what matters and let them go. To stay present and be alive here, now. Three mindful breaths.
Look! Abandoned winter toys at the edge of the valley. And there, on the other side, the city–not Berlin, Toronto. This is where I am.