Today is the fifth anniversary of the deaths of three very special people. On the first anniversary, I was by myself at the Wallace Stegner house. I went for a walk and came across three young deer. It was, of course, just a coincidence, but I longed to give meaning to their sighting. Also on that day, I read Louis Glück's Autumnal and threw three stones into the stream that ran behind the house.
Yesterday, I was at the beach with two of my children. I also threw three stones in the water, saying my lost friends' names in my head as I did so.
This morning, as I entered the parking lot at the university, I saw three deer. Again, I know this is a coincidence. Deer at UVic are like pigeons in almost any other city. But. But, still. Of course my mind makes connections.
I pulled Louise Glück's Collected Poems from my shelf and reread "Autumnal." That poem, deer in triplets, and stones in collections of three now, and probably always will, remind me of my young friends and have become symbols of their loss.
We can't help but make connections. We create narrative, find symbols to comfort, to ease ourselves through difficulties. It may be irrational, but we do what we can, don't we? I count deer, read poems, throw stones for this loss.
There are other losses, though. One only months old, another impending. I don't know yet what I'll reach for to guide me through their grief. But something will, won't it? Something must.