Fall has always been one of my favorite times of the year. There is just something about the crispness of the air, the colors, the cinnamon smell that seems to be in the air of every building I enter. Fall is the start of the holiday season as we quickly move from costumes to turkeys to trees. It is the beginning of a season of change. Everyone seems to slow down a little and savor the moments with friends and family a little more.
There is a quote that I often see this time of year, “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.” There is something about the thought of letting go that resonates so deeply within me. Fall is my calm before the storm.
Our loss happened in February. Right in the middle of the cold and the snow. As we fade into fall, and the temperatures begin to drop and we start thinking about snowfall totals and holiday traditions I begin to fade a little too.
Fall is my time to let go much like the trees. I let go of the pain that I feel only choosing one costume instead of two. I let go of the guilt of not knowing my son’s favorite pie to bake at Thanksgiving. I let go. I let go of the mask I wear through those warm months. That mask of strength. The illusion that I have it all together and that I am handling this whole “grief thing” well.
My family and friends see my overly decorated house and a busy schedule of activities not realizing they are all little things to distract me from what I know is coming. I am able to keep myself distracted with pumpkin farms and the baking of pies and a tiny trick-or-treater trying to find just the right costume.
I will marvel at the beauty of fall as the trees change colors and let go of the heavy burden of leaves they have been carrying all summer. I too will let myself let go. I will let go and let the grief come back in, taking over at times. Always changing, but always present through these seasons of change and memories.
As the leaves and the temperatures begin to fall, my mind begins to wander back to a place that holds so many painful memories. The thoughts of snow covered roads and that familiar chill in the air trigger my anxiety like no other. As my favorite time of year all too quickly fades into the one that hurts the most.
Fall brings memories each year of falling in love and newlywed life as my husband and I met in August and married one year later. I still love fall and those beautiful memories it evokes. But now fall also means something else.
Fall is now the season that reminds me of feeling him kick for the first time, of telling family and friends that we were expecting. It’s a reminder of surprising our parents on Thanksgiving day by telling them they were going to have a grandson.
It means the beginning of the holiday season. The holiday season where I’m hyper-aware that I should be wrangling two small children through the pumpkin patch and trying to figure out how to coordinate outfits for their fall pictures.
Then fall leads into winter where I know I should be hanging an extra stocking, wrapping twice the presents, and trying to get two small children on Santa’s lap.
Fall is one more reminder that we are closer to winter. And winter is the reminder of all the things that went wrong. A car wreck, multiple trips to labor and delivery for monitoring, and a birth that was followed by a funeral instead of a happy homecoming.
So like the trees, I will let go. I will let go of the unnecessary guilt and pain. I will let go of the idea that I have it all together. I will let go of everything, but I will never let go of the memories of him.
Photo Credit: Victoria Denney