There is an awful scene, or narrative, really, in Michael O'Brien's Plague Journal - I have told him this - of a winter of sickness and unhappiness for a family. O'Brien told me it was based on true events, events actually worse than the novel depicts.
Today I have a sick baby and had a driveway full of snow. Those things combined can be morally debilitating. A driveway which will not admit passage is psychologically daunting. How many times have I myself had to cope with a driveway like this while not feeling well myself. But I am in good health and looking for some exercise, so most of the snow is now piled neatly out of the way, and my lower back isn't in too bad a shape for it.
But sickness, snow and cold can create such a dreary feeling of sadness and helplessness. What made it not so is my Sarah-Grace - almost eleven - taking the baby up in her arms and healing her with love, really. Sarah is a girl such that if she decides something is going to be the case, it is going to be the case. Luckily for all of us she has the heart of a mother, and has killed sadness and suffering with love. Lauren will be loved and happy, that is it, says Sarah. I am just an observer.