How do you live in a landscape so vastly changed?

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In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I just started a course on grief. The course is called Writing Your Grief. Every day, we receive an email with a writing prompt encouraging us to explore an aspect of our grievance.

Today is Day # 3. I haven’t shared any of my posts with the public yet, but I’ve decided to share this one. Without getting into details, today’s prompt was about how do we live in a landscape that changed (I was living in the forest, now I live in the desert).

Here’s my story that makes an allusion to today’s prompt. For the ones who didn’t know Zackaël, I just want to mention that jumping was Zackaël’s favorite activity.

How do you live in a landscape so vastly changed?

We were living in a rainforest. Carl, Maxandre, Zackaël, Adélie, and I, even built a little cabin in the trees.

Every day, the richness of the forest made us discover life. The great diversity of plants and animals gave us completely different experiences. We were so well surrounded. We would wake up to the sound of birds and count the butterflies that came to us.

In the forest, the air was clean and fresh. After the rain, there was always sunshine. The alternation between rain and sun brought variety to our activities.

In the reflection of the raindrops on the leaves, we could even see our joy of living.

From tree to tree, we hooked up ropes and took turns bouncing. Our little Zackaël, skilled as always, would tumble in the air to swing with ease between the trees. Pure joy!

Maxandre and Zackaël would often grab their little sister with them and all three would spring forward.

Bright white, the beautiful big clouds allowed us to jump on them, high in the sky. What a joy! Our little athlete Zackaël always got so excited when he saw bouncy clouds. He would jump and show off his spins and turns, so effortless and gracefully.

The green of the trees, Zackael’s favorite color, was a rich green that went beyond nature.

However, on November 17, 2019, with no warning, we were shoved into the desert. We don’t really know how it happened. That day, we couldn’t see the forest anymore.

From that day, we knew we were in the desert.

At first, the wind was very strong, maybe even a sandstorm. The wind carried fine particles of sand and dust that entered our eyes. We had a really hard time seeing ahead.

After the storm, we gradually come to the realization that Zackaël is gone forever. He won’t come back. As much as he loved to jump up high in the sky, he has now reached heaven. The sky has no more clouds. Our Zackaël can no longer jump; his last jump was so high that he went to join the stars.

There’s no longer a cabin to protect us, we only have each other. We were five, but now, we are four. Only the four of us are stuck in that desert.

The rain in the forest has now turned to tears. The intense heat of the desert dries our tears as soon as they fall on our cheeks.

Devoid of vegetation and inhospitable, life is hard here; only a little cactus here and there. Be careful not to touch them, they are full of spikes.

Maxandre is lying on the sand. He is out of breath and looks at the sky trying to see his brother. But the sun is blinding and Maxandre looks elsewhere.

Maxandre’s gaze is turned therefore towards little Adélie. His little sister was injured by a 1,100 pounds beast. Despite her small size, Adélie is strong. She encourages us with her beautiful smile to continue the long course.

Carl and I try our best to ride our own camels. I am frail and have no energy, but I do everything possible to ride the camel. Two camels walking slowly but surely.

We try to bring up Maxandre on the camel that I am riding. Maxandre must hold on to me. We support each other.

On the other camel, Carl carries Adélie in his arms. Carl is already tired. It’s difficult to navigate with all this weight and only a free hand.

We don’t know where the camels will take us. We have been wandering into the unknown for ages. The days are alike. Every day, the heat is oppressive and heavy.

The humpbacks of the camels are indescribably uncomfortable. Several times a day, we imagined letting ourselves fall full on our stomachs in the sand, to let ourselves languish. But the sun is too strong and will scorch us. We don’t have that time.

We remain hopeful and try to keep our balance. Falls are dangerous and we have to hold on tight. The sand is deep and we have to be careful not to sink.

Every day, we travel for miles. The landscape is dry and always the same. There is no end to it.

Why are we alone in this great suffering? What did we do to end up here? When will we be removed from this desert to return and find our forest?

In the distance, we finally see a valley. Let’s go and get some rest. Maybe we will find an oasis?

That’s it for now!
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14 responses to “How do you live in a landscape so vastly changed?”

  1. Ramona. Avatar

    Beautifully written Brigitte, I hung on to every word wondering what would come next, your use of symbolism which I love, is riveting and moving. Love and hope are interwoven throughout. Sending love and hugs to you and your family. xoxoxo

    1. Ryan Toole Avatar
      Ryan Toole

      You are a gifted writer — please keep pursuing it.

      We talk about Zac all the time, and I find myself thinking about him very often.

      You will find your oasis.

      See you all soon.

      1. Brigitte L Avatar

        thanks so much Ryan and for reading my posts! Zackaël loved you so much. Hope to see you guys soon

    2. Brigitte L Avatar

      merci énormément Ramona pour ton commentaire. J’espère que vous allez bien xox

  2. Judy Avatar

    Wow Brigitte, whenever I read your posts I am so moved that I am brought to tears. Your story is so moving we can feel your joy then sorrow. Well done, I’m sure this helps others who are grieving.

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      thanks so much Judy

  3. Annie Avatar

    Les facons dont tu decris ce que vous vivez est incroyable. Tu nous fait presque vivre ce que vous passez au travers avec tous ces analogies. Tu as une plumes facile. Jespere juste que ta plume taide a rester accrocher a ton chameau.

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      merci Annie. J’aime bien écrire, surtout dans ces temps restreints, et j’adore échanger avec vous tous.

  4. Karine Hunter Avatar
    Karine Hunter

    Wow Brigitte, les analogies sont si touchantes, quel beau message.

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      merci Karine!

  5. Janelle Avatar

    Wow Brigitte, c’est difficile de savoir quoi dire après avoir lu quelque chose de si touchant. Tu es si courageuse d’oser écrire. C’est si beau, mais c’est déchirant. J’aimerais tellement que ce soit juste une histoire et pas votre réalité. Ça me touche beaucoup de te lire, toujours. Matthieu et moi pensons à toi souvent. On ne sait pas toujours quoi faire pour vous aider, mais on va toujours vous accompagner dans vos histoires et votre cheminement. On vous aime beaucoup xoxo

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      merci encore Janelle pour les beaux commentaires que tu laisses, je les apprécie beaucoup. xox

  6. Kaila Avatar

    Brigitte…this is so moving. I never knew you were such a skilled writer. What a way to describe the unimaginable that your family unit is going through together.

    So much love to you all ❤️

    If there’s anything we can do to lighten the load we are here.

    1. Brigitte L Avatar

      thanks so much Kaila. I’m happy to see you here. Hope you guys are well

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