I miss my mother most in the fall.
She loved autumn: the colors, the crispness in the air, and the sense of change. By autumn, freckles from summer peppered her face. They always made her look young and vibrant. She was married in October, before the snow fell. Her bridesmaids wore avocado green and shades of orange.
I, too, love fall, but my heart also aches for her this time of year. This was the winding down time; the time of year when our hope of a prolonged life for her was gone and we settled our minds instead on just being together. All the things that needed doing were set aside. There were good days then, before the vomiting and morphine and vials of medications.
We knew winter was coming with its emptiness, harshness, and stark absence. We knew she wouldn’t be there with us, to weather its storms or to smile when the hummingbirds came back the next spring.
Every year, it seems like I count down the days again. I mourn the loss of the leaves, the browning of the hillsides, and the death of my mother. She loved autumn enough to stay for it’s full duration. The first snow fell just hours after she died.
It seems fitting now, that my favorite time of year is filled with a sort of longing: for warm days and cool nights, for long slow walks, for the smell of maple and cinnamon, and to be loved the way only my mother loved me. I long for an elusive kind of peace. The kind that comes with feeling good about change; with hanging on to some things and letting go of others. It’s the time of year when I’m struck by how much I don’t have the answers. How much I miss being sheltered like a child.
All of my worries churn like the leaves rustling on the ground.
Then my children come, run through them, pick them up and toss them heavenward.
And I remember: I used to do that too.