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 this and get to the amazing, creative projects shared by my friends at the bottom of this post.

Blessed are those who mourn, Season of Sadness

What Happened?

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 our son, Cody, overpower my joy the moment I hear a bird chirp.

On March 29, 2015, Cody, unexpectedly passed away in his sleep at the young age of 23. He went to sleep and never woke up. He died from a brain bleed caused by untreated hypertension.

Cody Bryant, Season of Sadness

The Call

It was Spring Break 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 talked about a future RV trip in the summer and planned for Cody to 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”. My mind was completely numb as I looked out the window and hummed those lyrics in my head.

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 completely exhausted and emotionally drained. We held hands 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.

Wake and Funeral

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

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 he made us laugh and smile. That was very comforting to us. 

I remember what I called “the look” that 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 very last time.

How strong you are, Season of Sadness

My husband and I delivered the eulogy together. We laughed. Everyone laughed. We cried. Everyone cried. 

As we left the church, my tunnel vision took over as we walked behind the casket. Everything around me went black, I lost my sense of hearing and it appeared as if I was walking in slow motion down a long, dark corridor. Family and friends 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.

Life Filled With Grief

After the funeral, we spent the next two weeks 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 as we attempted to move forward.

Gradually, 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 most times we weren’t functioning at all.

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

I'll be okay, Season of Sadness

One day, I totally 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 sobbed 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. I truly felt like dealing with people was a waste of my time. 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 always at the forefront of my mind. 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. Out of nowhere, huge waves would unexpectedly pound me down so hard I felt like I was drowning and 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 living out 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 because I had faked my way this far.

Grief never forgets, Season of Sadness

The shower has washed away my tears and silent screams. My car holds my incoherent babbling and one way conversations. The wind carries all my hopes and prayers for the future.

My eyes know what it feels likes to literally cry 365 days in a row. My heart physically 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 during a crying fit. My brain has experienced sleep psychosis, more than once.

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 family bravely face those moments with broken hearts. Together we “survived”.

As a mother, I not only grieve for the loss of my first born child and only 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.

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. 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

Living Through It

My oldest daughter shared these words and I couldn’t agree more. The strange 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 and the seconds keep ticking.

Yes, it has been several 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. We moved to Texas. 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 to navigate the grief journey together, spring remains a season of sadness but also a season of strength. As each anniversary comes and goes, we have “survived” another year.

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 décor 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.

    • Denise Bryant says:

      Thank you for your kindness and support. Whenever I hear of anyone passing at a young age my heart immediately aches for the family but esp the mother. xoxox

  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!

  9. Kristy says:

    My heart is breaking for you because I now know exactly how you feel. I lost my precious youngest son, Cody, on Dec 2, 2021 at the age of 30. He passed unexpectedly from an aortic aneurysm dissection. He had only been married to his precious wife for a little over three months at the time of his passing. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he’s no longer here on earth. It’s like I went to sleep and woke up in an alternate dimension that I can’t find my way out of. Nothing is normal anymore, I can’t find joy in anything. We are all lost, my husband, my oldest son, my daughter in law and of course me. His loss takes up my every thought. I cry more than I don’t cry. Right now I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. Finding your page has given me hope, thank you. God Bless you and your family.

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