Loss and a Snowflake: A Ritual for Healing
by Amanda German
In December 2002 I became pregnant with our first child. A few months later, the world around me seemed to blur. Cramping, bleeding, and the words from the ER doctor filled my space:“You’re having a miscarriage.”
For the next two weeks, my body gave birth—physically, mentally and emotionally—to a little soul I had been so careful with. I became consumed with grief, guilt, gratitude, and anger. I returned to work feeling overwhelmed, burying these feelings in order to get on with my “normal life.”
Years have passed. Two children and two additional miscarriages have filled my womb and our family since. Yet part of me still yearns for the innocence lost during that first pregnancy.
As the snow began to fall this morning, I heard whispering. The tranquil energy from the snowflakes drifted over me. Each one was an intricate kaleidoscopic balance of order and disorder descending to Earth at different rates. Snowflakes are little natural phenomena that symbolize purity and individuality. I gathered some materials and began to construct my own snowflake, in a restorative ritual that others who have experienced loss, including miscarriage or loss of a child, might consider as well.
I folded a paper circle in half, then again three more times. Picking up the scissors, I began. I envisioned what this snowflake would look like, much like the way I have envisioned my lost child. I was precise and careful, considering how each choice I made during the snowflake’s creation would alter its future. Soon the paper cone in my hand was full of intricate shapes. Looking down, I paused. All of the little pieces lying before me were reflections of my stifled feelings and emotions. They were part of my whole experience. I scooped up the pieces and piled them to the side. Cutting more, I felt energized, knowing there was purpose for my experience. With anticipation, I opened my snowflake. It was whimsical.
Gazing out the window, I reflected on each snowflake’s fleeting journey. They do not fall alone, yet they are silent. Finding a warm heart, they melt, leaving only a small drop of water, like a tear. My pile of pieces became an image of what my snowflake had left behind. It was just as beautiful. Both framed creations now hang, side by side, with the poem by Emily Warburton titled “Each of Us a Snowflake.”
As a woman, wife, daughter, and mother my life had changed. The images of these snowflakes remind me to see the beauty in it all again.
About the author: Amanda German lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her husband and two boys. She is a Life Cycle Celebrant for families and children and has a background in body therapies. [email protected]