Dancer in the Dark

I hold deep reverence for the cycles of nature. The winter solstice in particular has become profoundly sacred to me since Isaac was just a little baby. I appreciate the connection to an ancient tradition as well as the metaphorical aspects of darkness and light, a return of the sun, going inward to restore. Perhaps it is the solitude and reflective nature of an otherwise extroverted holiday season?

Isaac had spent Thanksgiving many times with his dad, traveling to DC to visit his grandma. So Winter Solstice truly marked Isaacs absence from the holidays, for me.

We chose to honor him with a hike and a fire on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. For the last several weeks, Josh has hauled a sled full of wood to the site. Saturday morning we hiked out to place marker flags and reflector pins for others who may come. It was a beautiful morning and the stillness of the water in December held us; captivated.

Sunday morning Josh said he wanted to go check it out in the dark to test our trail “guides”. When he returned he asked me if there was anything I wanted for Christmas–

We headed out for a 4pm meet up at the trail head. We ambled our way up the bluffs with dogs, candles, libations and snacks, with Isaacs dad and dear friends. Upon arrival, just before I crested the final hill, Josh said “Merry Christmas Babe, I Love You So Much”

And there before me was a 14 foot high, hand crafted (that morning), heart shaped dream catcher over the fire pit. It was unbelievably beautiful and touching and apropos. We had just decided earlier, at home, to spread the first of Isaacs ashes on the bluffs. The scene surpassed expectation but captured the sacred ceremony I was quietly imagining.

More friends and family arrived. Wind howled and tears flowed, but for 6 hours, in the dark, we held space for Isaac, for Solstice, for each other, for darkness and light being equals.

I felt once again the overwhelming power of love, community, and gratitude. I fell in love with my husband all over again. I cherished my sons daddy, my sister, my father in law my brothers in law and many dear friends even more. I held close and sacred the love I feel for my beautiful child and I embraced the grief in a new way, shedding a few fears by releasing them into the fire, into the air, into the dune, into the magnificent lake, swirling with Isaac Dust, transmuting pain and darkness into love and light. Freedom.






Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


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