Just like that, it is September and fall-ish outside, meaning, when I walk the dog in the morning, I am not warm. Also, the frogs are out. Do they just come out in the fall? I was not aware of their seasons, but I am now very much aware of their presence during my morning walks. That is all I will say here about frogs to avoid interfering with anyone’s happy thoughts, but if you want a frog story for whatever reason, I am your person.
I love fall, and fall colors, and the fall clothes I put away last year.
As it turns out, I don’t have any fall clothes stored away and must go shopping immediately. Sometimes I have the following thought process: I know – I will get rid of these mediocre clothes so next year I will be forced to get new ones.
Evidently “next year” has arrived and you can find me at the store. I put myself in these situations because I do not like to shop. I would rather wear the mediocre clothes I brought to the Goodwill last December.
A change in seasons brings new waves of grief over the loss of my dad. In September, I am usually preparing for my annual drive to Arizona to deliver my mom & dad’s car, along with their dog Gus, (who now lives with us permanently much to the dismay of the Alpha Dog, Brooklyn) to their warm weather home where they used to live for 7 months of the year. This September we are just staying home. It feels strange. It feels like my dad will be contacting me with flight plans. He has been gone almost 8 months and I miss him 8 months more now than I did when we first said good-bye.
I met with the Hospice counselor, Wendy, last Monday. Wendy is kind, sympathetic, supportive and compassionate. “The grief is in charge,” she said. Yes….that seems to be true. I told her I would like a checklist to make sure I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing, but she doesn’t offer checklists. She offers a listening ear, and suggests things like self-care. She reminds me that we tend to be overly critical of ourselves, and this does not serve us. I already know this, but when Wendy says it, the words seem truer.
Self-care is a common theme these days for a lot of people. A lot of “experts” recommend self-care for all people, all ages, in all circumstances and I agree with this philosophy wholeheartedly, so I bought flowers. I’m not normally a flower person, but they were so comforting at the funeral. The vase of white flowers from my co-workers made such a lasting impression. This isn’t my first flower purchase since that day.
There are not a lot of things that feel comforting, other than comfort food. I mean….it’s right in the name. It is my go-to so much that those fall clothes I brought to the Goodwill last year probably wouldn’t fit anyway.
Puzzles are therapeutic, and I have put several of them together in the last few months. I am grateful for a designated puzzle table in my mom’s basement apartment in our house. It’s a win-win. I get a place to work on puzzles without being in the way, she gets regular visits from her daughter, which she says she likes.
Sometimes I think I have entered the anger stage of grief. I have picked a couple fights on Facebook with relatives over politics. This is not my norm. One such relative said that I acted like a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and that my words were like a “knife to the heart.” I apologized. It was not my intention, but I do feel angry sometimes. Perhaps he was an easy target. He didn’t say, but I think he forgave me.
So I try to stick with the things that work. Morning meditation–10 minutes of just breathing…”noticing my thoughts when they come and letting them go.” Making gratitude lists. Working at my regular job, but not too much. Snuggling with my dog. Reading the books. Trying to stay spiritually fit, at least some of the time. And planning my biannual trip to New York.
The happy and sad take turns in my heart.
Fall is short. We have to work hard to be present for such a quick-moving season. It’s a good time to evaluate priorities, regroup, and prepare for that next season, the one that’s not short.
In the meantime, today’s gratitude list includes: morning coffee, good health, and family, the sunshine during the day, the cool breeze at night and all the moments of peace and laughter that fill the hours in between.