It is when the leaves turn and mornings become cool. And I guess my thoughts turn as well.
I wake up early enough and walk the dog. Lately Justin has been with me and that is nice. I sit and enjoy tea with my cat… and then time slips by. Eventually I am a little late. And then a little more. Mornings are peaceful and I don’t want to leave those moments. Like falling leaves.
I give myself an internal pep talk. I tell myself to “awesome the shit out of today.” and I pass it on to four people. I try. I really try to be positive. To look up. To think about the good things that will happen. I pray a bit. Sometimes I write stuff down. This morning I find myself wanting to stay home and paint, even though the lessons I have planned today are fun and naturally engaging for the students.
And I think grieving can be like weather. From long droughts to unexpected storms. And there are some cool sunny days. Leaves fall from the oak trees here in the fall, and they come back in the spring. That is the way it works.
I guess I have hit a rough spot, again. And I can’t seem to think my way out, talk my way out, or write my way out, or paint my way out, or pray my way out. And all around me, I can feel the darkness pulling at me, and more and more I feel like I have lost all fight. It’s like those branches barren of leaves. And I think it may actually have to do with some kind words offered by a caring person.
“Jesus will turn your sorrows into joy.” He said. And I don’t know what it was, but that statement put me in a very dark mood. Sorrow, unlike those leaves isn’t turning. And it doesn’t seem like I can will that joy into existence.
I think we expect to be able to fix anything- to work a problem, apply resources and figure it out. But this really does have me stuck. Maybe it’s an American male thing. Sorrow into joy? Sure. Pray it out. Make it happen. Do it right and results must follow. We can will what we want into existence. We can determine how we feel. Right?
And in the pit of my stomach, I am sick. I am tired. I am out of breath. Three years in and I am still sad. And really it does feel like I have done all that I can do, and as much as things have gotten better, my sorrow is still sorrow and joy is something foreign. And it really does seem that in the midst of fall, that nothing will change that. The leaves will litter the ground. The branches will look bare. And soon the days will grow short and cold weather will be upon all of us.
Maybe we will have a real winter. Maybe we will get feet of rain, from storm after storm like they keep saying. Maybe this year we can see some snow.
There are oak trees. Leaves turn and drop. The rains fall. A light snow covers the wet ground. And the earth takes it all in.
Three years ago, it seems my life was good. I was moving along at a good pace and both my sons had moved into adult life and out of our small mountain house. My joy was joy and sorrow seemed alien. And then just as suddenly that all changed. One son took his life that Spring. And my joy became sorrow. It was like falling to the earth and sinking in. And in that moment it seems I lost all fight.