Why Spring is My Season of Sadness

I was given the challenge of creating anything associated with Spring. Anything. There were no limits to the imagination and it could be anything I wanted to make. Anything. Yet, I literally can’t think of anything to create because Spring is definitely my season of sadness.

Warning: this post has nothing to do with my usual DIY or recipe sharing. You won’t hurt my feelings if you scroll on past my season of sadness and get to my friends sharing their amazing creativity at the bottom of this post.

Blessed are those who mourn, Season of Sadness

You would think that living in the mid-west would give me every reason to love Spring as we enter the winter thaw but I really dislike everything about the season.

As a Christian, I know it’s supposed to be a joyous time of rebirth and new life however, grief and mourning the loss of my son overpower my joy the moment I hear a bird chirp.

Cody Bryant, Season of Sadness

My son, Cody, unexpectedly passed away in his sleep at the age of 23. He went to sleep and never woke up due to a brain bleed.

It was Spring Break 2015 and we were taking our 3 girls on a road trip to Arkansas to visit my in-laws however, Cody couldn’t go with us because he had to work. We planned a future RV trip in the summer and Cody would go with us to the Grand Canyon.

12 hours into our road trip we received “the call” from a family friend and just like that my world went dark, my body completely went numb and I honestly don’t remember much about the trip home. My Fitbit said I had over 10,000 steps. That’s an awful lot of pacing in a 31 foot RV.

I will never forget, Season of sadness

I don’t know why but all the way home I kept repeating the ending lyrics to the song Bohemian Rhapsody “nothing really matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters, nothing really matters to me”.

We came home to be embraced and showered with so much love from our family, friends and neighbors. The non-stop food, phone calls and texts were beyond overwhelming, in a good way.

My sweet best friend slept on my couch in the same clothes for 2 days. My family flew in and drove in from all over the country.

Walk with the broken, Season of Sadness

My body and mind went on autopilot as we made funeral arrangements for our first born child and the days went by in a blur.

Every night my husband and I collapsed into bed exhausted and emotionally drained. We held each other and cried ourselves to sleep each night.

My eyes were swollen from crying so much. I endlessly searched for signs of Cody’s presence. I replayed every word of our last conversation. I reflected on 23 years of happy memories.

I used all of that emotion to write his eulogy with lots of help and guidance from my girls and husband.

The wake was a steady stream of family, friends, neighbors, his brothers in blue and people I had never met. We learned that he made people laugh and smile as much as much as he made us laugh and smile.

I remember what I called “the look” I received from the mothers that came through the receiving line. No words needed to be spoken as we exchanged “the look”. I knew what they were thinking just by looking into their teary eyes.

The funeral procession was lead by dozens of police cars from departments around the county and the church was standing room only. His brothers in blue gave him an amazing farewell that I will never, ever forget.

I sat in the church pew clinging to my husband’s arm and trying to comfort my 3 girls as they sat to my left, oldest to youngest. They were and still are my true strength.

Grief is the last act of love, Season of Sadness

My thoughts were wandering as I relived all of the times we sat in the church as a family for First Communions, Confirmations, Graduations and Mass. I couldn’t help but think that this would be the last time we were in church as a complete family. All 6 of us together for the last time.

My husband and I agreed that the eulogy would be funny because we couldn’t deliver any words to our friends and family if we went the sappy, emotional route. Besides, Cody gave us lots of material to laugh about on a daily basis. He was definitely a funny guy.

How strong you are, Season of Sadness

We laughed. Everyone laughed. We cried. Everyone cried.

My tunnel vision took over as we walked out of the church behind the casket. Everything around me went black and it appeared as if I was walking in slow motion down a long, dark corridor. People to the left and right of me with unrecognizable faces.

Burial was never an option. He was cremated so we could sprinkle his ashes, plant trees and bring him with us to Texas when we retire.

Moving forward, Season of Sadness

For two weeks we were completely surrounded by family and friends. Lots and lots of love, compassion and kindness lifted us each day and suddenly we yearned for alone time. We yearned for family time with the girls. 

Slowly the girls went back to school and we went back to work except nothing was routine. Everything was different. Forever changed. We were functioning in life “after death” mode and sometimes we weren’t functioning at all.

On the outside, I looked like I had my act together but on the inside I faked my way through every single day. Fake smile. Fake laughter. Fake emotions.

I'll be okay, Season of Sadness

And then I snapped. I had a huge meltdown at work and walked out the door with no intention of ever going back. I sat on a bench and cried (really, I was sobbing) on the phone to my husband who eventually coaxed me into going home to catch my breath and gather my thoughts.

My thoughts swirled around my lack of tolerance for people and petty bullshit. Dealing with people was a waste of my time and I didn’t have time to waste because “nothing matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters, nothing really matters to me”.

You were given this life, Season of Sadness

I became hyper focused on time. How I spent my time each day and who I spent my time with. Was anything or anybody worthy of my time?

I started seeing a therapist as the shock set in and I entered the grief cycle which felt more like a grief tsunami. Huge waves would unexpectedly pound me down so hard I felt like I was drowning. Some days I could barely keep my head above water.

It made me angry when people said I was so strong. Strong? No, I was in shock and living my days in blackout mode. I literally don’t remember 5 months of my life and I certainly didn’t want to be the poster child of strength.

It comes in waves, Season of Sadness

Although there is no timeline when it comes to grief, getting through the first year was a big deal to me because it meant we “survived”. We made it through all of our “firsts” without Cody and yes each and everyone one of those special occasions hurt even more as I saw my husband and girls face those moments with broken hearts. Together we “survived”.

As a mother, I not only grieve for the loss of my son but I grieve for the entire family. I grieve for all of the special moments he won’t physically be here for. I grieve for his hopes and dreams that won’t come true. I grieve for my broken family tree.

Grief never forgets, Season of Sadness

The shower holds my tears and silent screams. My car holds my inchoherent babbling and one way conversations. The wind holds all my wishes for the future.

My eyes know what it feels likes to cry 365 days in a row. My heart knows it feels like to be broken. My lungs know what it feels like to gasp for air as I try to catch my breath. My brain has experienced sleep psychosis, more than once.

It wasn’t until we made it past the one year anniversary that it dawned on me how much I had developed a dislike for Spring. Spring has become my season of sadness but also a season of strength as each anniversary comes and goes. We “survived” another year.Today you are stronger than yesterday, Season of Sadness

I never realized how deeply my thoughts and emotions were tied to my surroundings during all of this because I was so numb through it all but literally everything leading up to March 29th floods me with such a heavy sadness. What makes most people excited and happy makes me sad.

Warmer weather. Green grass. Blooming flowers. Chirping birds. Blue skies. Sunshine. Spring break. Easter.

Grief is Courage, Season of Sadness

My oldest daughter shared these words and I couldn’t agree more…..The weird thing about a devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you’re faced with a tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you’re going to live through it, somehow, the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking.

Yes, it has been 4 years since our family experienced a loss like no other and time has gone on. Graduations have happened. Babies have been born. Weddings have happened. Life decisions have been made. The Cubs won the World Series!

Grief Never Ends, Season of SadnessThe waves of grief still come but less frequently and I’ve since learned how to tread water. I am far more selective on how I spend my time. I focus on being present in the moment. I appreciate more of the little things in life.

As a family we will continue to make happy memories together because in the end, all we have are memories. Why not make them happy memories?

On a positive note, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon last year over Spring Break. We all brought something with us that reminded us of Cody and ironically we spent the anniversary together, on the road and in the glamper.

As time goes on and we continue through the grieving process together, I am hopeful that Spring will no longer be a season of sadness for me and my amazing family.

In the meantime, baby steps will get us through this season of sadness as we grow and heal together.

Do not judge, Season of Sadness

Now that we have all of the crying and sadness out of the way, please make sure you visit my friends to be inspired by their Spring creativity.

The Inspired Makers Tribe are bringing you all the
spring decor and inspiration you need to kick the winter blues!

Lisa @ The Purple Hydrangea | Sarah @ 1915 House | Kim @ Farmhouse Made
Toni @ Small Home Soul | Susanne @ Pearl Street Designs | Sherri @ Savvy Apron
Stephanie @ One Mile Home & Style | Denise @ My Thrifty House


  1. Toni says:

    Oh Denise, I wish wish I had the power to bring your sweet son back to you and your family. Your community gathered around you, lifted you up, and carried you through the darkest of days. How amazing to have people like that in your life, who loved your son!

    You have lived every mother’s (and father’s) nightmare and sharing your experience as eloquently as you have, will surely help the parents who so sadly find themselves in your shoes. I’m thankful for all the happy memories you have of him that you keep in your heart, and for the happy memories you continue to create with your daughters, that is your biggest strength of all.

    I’m praying that you feel the Lord’s arms still to this day, and that Easter season and our Risen Jesus will remind you on your saddest days that you will see Cody again ❤❤❤

      • Kathy Creamer says:

        Thank you for writing this. We lost our first born on March 5, 2019. Almost 10 months ago. I relate to every single word you so beautifully expressed. I’m so sorry for your losd of Cody. My son is forever 20. He was home on leave got married on March 1 and killed in a car accident only a couple days later. I feel everything you said and can’t remember what I’ve done in the last few months. We have another son he’s a senior this year and is the one who I get out of bed for. Somehow my son has given me the courage to face another day even though my heart is so shattered that I don’t know where one day starts and one day ends. Tristan was so young and just beginning his life but he was so strong and courageous and his zest for life and never afraid of anything has given me the Courage to keep going. Spring was always my favorite time of year. Now I just feel sad. I keep looking for the hummingbird that he so graciously could walk up to and they would let him hold them. I have a pic of this. Thank you for writing what I can’t seem to put into words regarding how this loss has ripped my heart wide open. Oh how I miss his smile. The most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen. He was really a good person. The world lost a magnificent person that horrible day. But Heaven gained a precious angel.

        • Denise Bryant says:

          Thank you for your response. I am so very sorry that we are connecting over such a terribly heartbreaking reason. Please know that each day will get slightly easier but you will always grieve Tristan and that’s ok. Don’t let anyone put a healing expectation on you because your heart is broken and that’s ok. Some days you won’t want to move or leave the house and that’s ok. You will go through so many emotions, ups and downs and that’s ok too. He will always be with you so just be open to receiving his messages, his presence, his guidance, his lessons and most of all his love. He is ALWAYS with you even when you don’t think he is, he’s there. I wish you much peace and love as you continue on this journey. Feel free to reach out to me if you every need a shoulder to cry on or just chat. From one Angel Mom to another, I wish you well.

  2. Sarah B Sanders says:

    Oh, sweet friend. I cannot fathom what you’ve walked through.
    And I have absolutely zero words that will make any of it better.
    I’m praying for you this season.
    That is all.

  3. Lisa says:

    Dear Denise, I only know a tiny bit of what you have experienced.

    We lost a family member suddenly on April Fool’s Day one year. I never think of April 1st without remembering.

    Peace and love to you my friend.

  4. Michelle says:

    Denise, I am so glad you shared your this here. (I follow you on Instagram, and was lead here to read your story @vintage_squirrel ) I can’t imagine what the last three years have been like for your family. My oldest son is 23, soon to turn 24, and I cannot imagine losing him so suddenly. In fact, I couldn’t sleep last night because I lay awake thinking about the sad ending to a local 23 year-old man who had been missing and whose body was found nearby. I don’t know them, but cried along with his mother on the TV news because I was heartbroken for her. I, too, am heartbroken for you as a mother, and for your understandably broken family. I feel it’s helpful to share these parts of ourselves, because life can be really difficult and we need to be aware that others may be going through a tragic loss, while putting on a smile. I’ve tried to express this to my boys… to be kind to everyone, because you never know what they might be dealing with. I wish you peace and comfort this Spring.

  5. Susanne says:

    Denise I am so sorry for your loss, I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like. I pray that each year the pain lessens until you can enjoy the season of spring again the way Cody would want you too. Love and Hugs

  6. Mary says:

    Denise I wish I could reach out and give you a great big hug. There is no loss greater than that of a child. I lost my mom when I was 19 and have always hated the summertime but I never put it together till I read your post. I honestly don’t have any words to comfort you but I think your family is your greatest strength and together you will move forward but never forget.

  7. Sherry Cole says:

    Denise, I am so so sorry for your loss and that you are having to go through this pain. I understand how the season will make you sad. I lost my husband 19 years ago and he passed 9 days before Christmas. Christmas time was very hard for my daughter and I but in time we have grown to love the Christmas season again. You are in my prayers!

  8. Kim says:

    Denise, I can’t begin to understand what you and your family are going through, but I can offer love, support, prayers for all of you. It’s obvious you’ve got an amazing angel up there watching over you all!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.