Our Story Begins
A Change of Season
It has been almost five years since my wife passed away. I make no allusions that this should be enough time or not enough time for things to soften, the painful edge of grief dulled enough so it doesn’t cut so deep.
I would claim that we have come a very, very long way, me and my four kids. From the time when I was trying to figure out why my daughter’s pants shrank to the size of toddler clothes to now, when I wash, fold, and crack the whip to put those same clothes away was not an easy road.
I bring this up because this is the time of year that is always a little melancholy in our home. Fall has always been, since I was a little kid, one of my favorite times. As a little kid I got to go trick-or-treating. When we raked leaves I got to jump in piles of them. When I got older the sun going down with the air going crisp and chilled I held the hand of that pretty girl and put my coat around her cold shoulders, trying not to shiver and seem like I was cold.
When you lose someone, in those first days, every single memory is painful, at least it was for me. The change in temperature and the change in the season was another reminder that the bed was a little colder and emptier and that the house was a little less bright. These are the things you cannot see coming. The little memories that hit your brain like an electrical tidal wave and sparks synapses to attention. You remember things you’d forgotten.
That happened to me today. I was looking out and snapping that photo above of the sunset and then looked out and saw the red, yellow and brown leaves of fall. I remembered walking down the tree-lined street of our first home while leaves crunched under our feet and my wife put her head on my shoulder.
Four years ago this moment would have left me in a mass of tears. A grenade of grief, tossed into my path, exploding and hitting my entire body with the memory-filled shrapnel of what was missing.
Today I remembered my wife and it made me smile…but it also did something else. My hand itched to have another hand in it. My body shivered slightly in the cold and I wanted someone to share that moment of warmth as you huddle and feel them move closer to you. It was a simultaneous tug of the past and pull of the future.
We’ve been through a lot in a short time, the four of us, but we hit what was “our” favorite time – ours and their mother’s – and it dawned on me watching the sun creep down the western sky that it was now our favorite time – mine and the kids. We all loved fall regardless of who was with us.
That’s the change that this season brought. Old memories . . . pushing us to make new ones.