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The 5 Funny Stages of Winter Weather Grief

Updated on January 30, 2014

I grew up living Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am used to some harsh winters and the colder weather that is common in the northern part of the country. However, at the beginning of 2013 I moved to the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. The climates are known to be similar to one another, but Minneapolis is known for being an area that comes under constant assault from Jack Frost. I was unprepared for what would happen following my relocation. The beginning of this year has seen record cold spells across the nation and especially in the Midwest. How lucky for me that this weather anomaly occurs just as I have relocated. When I checked the thermometer today, January 23, 2014, it said that the temperature outside of my already freezing car was...negative fourteen degrees. I would have cried at that frigid revelation, but why would I want to have to go through the remainder of my day with frozen tears all over my face? Instead I have just accepted that this is the way things are in January in Minnesota. However, I did not always have the benefit of existing in such an internal state of frozen nirvana. Let me chronicle my journey through the stages of winter grief:

What a beautiful September Day...
What a beautiful September Day...

Stage 1: Denial

As is the case with any grief or hardship, my first response was to deny what was happening around me. I decided that since it was only September, it was not yet time for me to put away all of my t-shirts and dig out all of my winter boots and coats. As the temperature steadily dropped, my optimism for a few remaining days of warmth remained ignorantly high. I continued to cruise through the city with the widows down while blasting all of my summer tunes. I would simply tell myself that the occasional snow flake I saw was a figment of my imagination. Finally, after enough cold days of running from indoor location to indoor location in an effort to avoid the approaching tundra, I quickly progressed on to next stage of winter grief...

Stage 2: Anger

After a solid week of a combination of snow, ice, and hail before week 4 of football season, I was starting to get a bad disposition for the weather that it was my great misfortune to be experiencing. I directed my feeling towards the weather itself. I began to silently curse every flake that floated its way to the ground in my presence. I was hoping that my anger would some how melt me out of the deep freeze that had become my daily existence. I was beginning to learn things I had never heard about winter before. I had to learn about what ice dam removal was, and I had to be worried about it. I slowly progressed into stage three of the process...

Stage 3: Bargaining

I began to try a new approach and reason with the snow and ice. What began as a silent wish for warmer days became a calculated descent into flash frozen insanity. I began making unspoken agreements with the weather. “Oh dear cold weather, if the temperature can be in positive single digits, just for tomorrow, I promise to build go out and build a massive snow fort as a testament to your cold excellence.” Unfortunately my bargaining did not work out in my favor. Even though I did manage to almost lose some appendages to frost bite, the cold weather continued to subsist. Twenty degree days become five degree days, and by the time I had reached the negative ten degree days, I longed for the heat wave that was above freezing. I started to slip into stage four...

Stage 4: Depression

The cold had simply become too much for me. I went to bed cold, I woke up cold, I could not even escape it while I slept. I would find myself drifting off to a warm summer beach, but suddenly it would be closed due to weather and I would need to put on a sweatshirt in my dream. Back in reality, I found myself putting on as many layers of warmth as I could find, and I would just sit and watch the snow continuing to fall day after day. I found it more difficult to do anything as the cold began to overtake me. It seemed like all would be lost, until one day when I reached the final stage...

I have learned to live with the cold...

Stage 5: Acceptance

By the middle of January I had made it through multiple blizzards, record setting cold spells, and I could barely remember what it was like to drive any faster than half of the posted speed limit. Suddenly, there was a change within me. The snow and ice did not seem to feel as cold as it once was. Maybe it was the numbing of my body, or perhaps it was the metaphorical (or it could have been figurative) ice melting from around my heart, but I had become to accept the cold weather where I lived. Now I can smile as I walk over snow that has been completely frozen by the wind. Negative ten degrees have started to feel like ten degree days, and I can finally move forward. Let my story serve as a guide, and maybe you too can learn to accept and live with the cold temperatures of the season.

What Stage of Winter Grief Are You In?

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