the fall, the fear and most of all, grace.
As the majestic neighbourhood oak trees release their golden flakes, my mind begins to flashback. That first touch of crispness in the air makes my shoulders sag a little. Cold, blue black fear starts to inch it’s way in. Inky stains on my wild and free summer kissed heart.
Trauma will do that do you, I suppose. Steal, remind you, make you anticipate the worst.
Autumn brings colder weather, spreads germs, sends in sickness.
But I love the fall. I love it with my whole being. I was born in October, met my husband in September, married in October (the following year). Spice and late autumnal sun and warm gray skies run through my veins.
I love wearing fingerless gloves, and wrapping my hands around a hot mason jar full of chai. I love the sunny cold days and the rainy candlelit days, too. I love celebrating, giving thanks. and picking pumpkins, if only from the cardboard bins at the grocery store. Apples taste sweeter, unfiltered cider will simmer on my stove. I love crockpot fare and tucking into my tins of tea and herbs.
This year I have a jar of fire cider sitting on the shelf in the basement. Jalapeños, ginger, onion, lemon, garlic, fresh turmeric and horseradish, all doused in raw cider vinegar. A teaspoon a day to keep the sickness away, or so I hope. I make elixirs and teas, grinding and combining, stirring and storing. I distract my mind by making concoctions in my tiny home apothecary. Rosehips are an excellent source of vitamin C, in fact, the best you can find. Elderberries boost the immune system and taste divine. I’ve finally splurged on some spicy therapeutic grade essential oils for rubbing on the soles of our feet.
I’m prepared to ward off the black plague.
I’m also readying my heart for the lonely, dark winter ahead, when friends graciously call in sick and dates get pushed back until colds and flus are free from their households.
I’m preparing as best as I can. But I know all my hard work can easily be poured down the drain.
A simple cold in our home can land us in the Intensive Care Unit at our Children’s Hospital. It can lead to death. I’ve seen it happen to other children with the same disease that my daughter has. And now, I know so many more children and families with this disease and they face the same battles. It’s a community no one wants to be a part of, but one we must lovingly commit to.
Will this year be it? How much longer? I wish I was strong enough to guard my heart. Now, now, chin up buttercup, carry on and fight.
Until you’re in the thick of it, and everything is crumbling, hollow and hellish.
Not this year. Not this year.
Even still, the beauty of fall and life itself carries on. I can’t help but take delight in it all. We’ve lived through two autumns. Two winters too. We’ve seen sickness come at us hard in June and October, so really, we don’t take any season for granted. We live in a crazy, bubble wrapped world, trying to protect our girl. And yet, we are still not immune.
But we are also slowly, slowly uncurling fists and training ourselves to live.
Grief, we see you and feel you, and don’t hate you. Fear, we’re not ashamed of you, but we’re tired of you. We’re learning to dance with you all in this season, but mostly…we are searching for that strength to put you to rest somedays too.