Fall has officially wrapped its coat of many colors over the shoulders of these mountains. Today is a gray day -which to me, always makes the oranges, reds and yellows pop. I don’t know if the “leaf-ers” as they get called around here have headed south or if they are still lurking much to the hope of small businesses in the area. Fall took its time this year.
I never liked Fall and yet this year it seems to be more comforting. I always notice that the dogs perk up this time of year. The smell of ozone with the cold air or the scent of something just out of reach seems to tease them. I think I understand a little better how they feel, because I have felt a little – dare I say – excitement. And for just this short moment – I let myself.
It hasn’t passed entirely -that feeling of excitement – but it is waning. Seems like everything on earth conspires to bring you back down to it.
After the flooding of the lower floor and the subsequent month of clean up by professionals my husband and I took a week to tidy up. When you have renovation done or new construction – the big stuff goes quickly and then you are left with all the little details. I also added to the mess.
There is a space left for storage and as I considered the things in the studio and other spaces that needed to be sorted I realized I needed to store some other things. To store more things, it meant I needed to go through and discard some things already in the storage area. It has been neglected for some time. The last time I sorted and discarded my son was there to help.
So I added more work to my plate. I pulled out boxes and in them – as you can imagine – were items that brought back memories. I gave in to them a little. But only a little. I told myself I was on a time table and so I would give in for a minute or two and then carefully pack the items and photos back up, all with the promise to myself that I could revisit them now, whenever I pleased. Moreover I now know exactly where they are.
I found some photos of people I didn’t recognize. That brought about some extra anxiety. Once again I was struck by how quickly we forget things and even people. It made me feel panic.
As a parent of a wonderful young man who comprised one third of my world I can say without fear of contradiction – no living parent wants their child forgotten. The words impossible, unthinkable, incomprehensible all come to mind. He was so much and now he is gone. The world has moved on. Another Winter, Spring, Summer and now Fall have come as the world turns and the earth continues on its path around the Sun. I still don’t understand.
I do understand that I will never understand. Yet there is no comfort in saying that.
At the art show I attended a few weekends ago one of my old friends who knew me and my relationship with my son talked to me for just a moment about my loss. He said it had broken his heart – devastated him – he said – and then had to walk away. He told me he knew how much my son and I loved each other.
It is wrong of me to feel some sort of satisfaction from the discomfort that man felt, but I did feel satisfaction. Perhaps it was partly in the fact that he validated what I know to be true, but now in my son’s absence receive so little reassurance of.
I read but cannot reference a prayer of thanks that someone posted somewhere. It said “I am thankful for those who love me and I am thankful for those who do not ” I have thought about those words a lot and for past few days have made them mine. I cannot explain adequately the sense they make to me. Yet, since we all exist with those two things being true it makes me feel connected.
I had an awful feeling during all the busy work of cleaning. I had a horrible thought that maybe I had imagined my son. And then among all the photos and objects I found the artifacts again. Buried deep inside me is the biggest artifact of all. My love for him and his love for me.
If the trees could think, would they during the cold of winter wonder if they imagined ever having leaves. I don’t know.
Enduring the passing of time. The challenge we all face – even the mountains and trees.
Thank you for allowing me to hear your thoughts and feelings as you move into another season. This is my first Fall without my daughter and I am experiencing the first Fall, and what will (or may) be many changes of seasons for me. Life is moving on around us and we still hold the memories and the love we feel for our precious children. I love the question you asked as to whether the trees imagined ever having leaves. I saw a presentation about plants using Kirlian photography. In it, parts of a plant’s leaves were cut off or damaged. Yet they were able to capture the image of the missing parts. I’d like to think that is how it is for us and our beloved children: always a part of us, even though they have gone from our visual field of view. How wonderful that that man told you he remembers the special love you and your son shared. He gave words to what is always there.