Six years ago on March 14th, 2009, my mother and sister traveled through the ice to their frozen death on Lake Rosseau.
Six years ago you may have read about this tragedy on the front page of The Globe and Mail. Six years ago I was in Myrtle Beach on my friend’s family vacation thousands of kilometers away from home. Six years ago at home it was a perfect blue bird winter day—the frozen snow-packed lake calling all ice fishers, snowmobilers and March Break families out to play.
For six years I have been frozen with my mom and my sister at the bottom of the Lake, unable to let them go and unable to take them with me.
For six years I’ve been sitting at the bottom of the lake submerged by the weight of the water and all its sadness. Today marks the end of the six-year-long deep freeze: the thaw has begun.
I will begin my swim to the horizon where the water meets the air and I will take a deep breath.
When I try and picture that day out on the ice I can feel the natural beauty resonating in the refracting snowy lake light. There is purity in that frozen air that shimmers in such a magical way that you can literally feel your soul swell in your body. If you’ve experienced this, you know there’s a universal truth in this feeling.
When you’ve experienced still beauty like this it becomes engraved in your memory and when you access it, it fills you with blissful clarity. My mother once said that the best gifts in life are free. She was right; the best gifts in this life are from Mother Nature—they’re honest and unconditional.
There is truth in both light and dark places.
The truth in the light place that I just described is in the crisp, still air and the glistening snow crust and the peace that exists where they meet at the horizon.
The truth in the dark place is under 18 inches of ice and several feet of cold black water. In this truth their bodies were perfectly preserved while Mother Nature absorbed their souls into the Earth’s crust.
This is also an honest and unconditional act of Mother Nature; She took them and She’s not giving them back.
It has taken me until now to be able to hold this dark truth; they were taken and I was not.
They are dead and I am alive.
They are not supposed to be here and I am.
I was left here for a reason.
We cannot do it alone, and yet, we are all we have. How can we both be alone and together simultaneously in a truthful way? I am just beginning to understand the depths of this question.
And I know that the fact that there is truth in both light and dark places is a critical part of this balancing act. We must grow comfortable in our own skin to express ourselves and experience beauty authentically. Often that beauty is reflected in sharing experiences with others, but for it to be real, for it to resonate, we must feel the light in our own bodies alone in the dark.
We must know our contribution and our worth in just being.
Each person’s presence is undoubtedly part of the molecular makeup of this life—we are all connected in one way or another. We are all organic organisms of this earth and therefore, all part of the honest and unconditional gifts of Mother Nature.
So it is hard for me to admit, but the truth is this: my mother and sister’s death was a gift.
Losing them has given me the gift of courage, the gift of independence, the gift of empathy, the gift of true peripheral vision and the greatest gift of all—the gift of self love. I cry for them often and their tragic death has left scar tissue in my heart, but I hold these gifts in my heart too, and I am only 23.
Many people would say that what I’ve experienced is too much for a young woman. I have felt this “ too much” for six years. But, as Mother Nature’s gifts to me have become visible and tangible I am aware of a kind of spiritual wealth that I never would have imagined.
This spiritual wealth translates into person power—big energy. In this energy my frequency pulls me out of that water and I get to swim in my soul at that peaceful horizon where the water meets the air.
It is time to celebrate. I am not frozen any more. I had to pull myself out of school to begin this thaw and I don’t think I will finish any degree in the immediate future. I will continue to grow in different, maybe unconventional, learning environments.
I will continue to study yoga and deepen my own delicious practice.
I will travel and sit with Mother Nature in other parts of the world.
And, when I get out of the water completely, I will climb to my favourite horizon where the crisp, still air caresses the glistening snow crust on the peak of a mountain. When I close my eyes this is where I want to be—on the peak of a mountain with my feet grounded in Mother Nature and Heaven all around me.
Author: Savannah Robinson
Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Author’s Own