Somewhere Between (Emotional) Summer and Winter
When the trees and shrubs burst into fiery bloom, the sky turns a perfect sapphire blue, the breeze is brisk and refreshing, and the peculiar scent of musty crisp leaves and wet earth fill the air, my brain and body thrill with the changing of the seasons and I look forward to family trips and happy memories to the pumpkin farm, hiking, mini golf, and Ren Faire.
But fall can also be a sad time, bringing shorter days, colder weather, and an emptiness of nature at the end of the season once all the leaves fall fallen. Favorite holidays such as Halloween, All Saints Day, Samhain, and Dia de Muertos all strive to remind us of death, the darkness of winter, and to serve as memorial days for deceased loved ones.
As fall draws to a close this November, as the last tiny pink roses (still, amazingly, clinging prettily to their stems) and mums wither until next summer, I am quietly thinking. I think about Elizabeth and Sabrina Cat, who died in the fall time. I think about my now-oldest who was likewise born in fall. I think about ancient cultures that no longer exist, I think about death and its unrelenting existence.
I am more moody in late fall, thinking. I don’t like these late changes. I don’t like the clocks turning closer toward nighttime, I don’t like the cold or the icy rain that comes with Ohio autumns. So I plan. I strive to think about nice memories or build new ones; I take my family to the local park, I drink warming chai tea with a touch of milk. I call a long-lost friend, I send a package of pictures to my Grandma, we host board game nights and have dinner with family.
It can be a tremendous mental and emotional effort to warm my heart while the weather gets cold and my brain just wants to hibernate. I don’t know that I could have done or thought all this early in my grieving, but it has been 12 years since Elizabeth died. Don’t be pressured or forced to “feel happy”, that’s not the point of my post. Do what you need to do, but don’t be afraid to build new memories, even happy ones, without your loved one. Don’t be afraid of your feelings. Don’t be afraid to live.