fall

by lani

(this is a very raw grief journey post, the sort that i’ll probably regret publishing in the morning. you’ve been warned.)

i loved fall.

the rainbow leaves crunching.
the sharp bite in the air, the sharp clarity of fall light.
cooling rain on the sunburnt earth.
the skies resting into a comfortable grey after exerting such an energetic blue for so long.
enough dark to let the world sleep, let each person’s light twinkle separately after the ubiquitous communal blaze of summer.

the promise of thanksgiving and christmas, of warm cinnamon-scented firelit family togetherness.

my autumn reverie was a glorious, 4 month celebration, from september through december, like a multi-course meal with each dish more decadent than the last. culminating in all the nostalgia and beauty of christmas, with my birthday the day after for dessert.

in the fall of 2011, my greatest fear was that my son would be born after christmas.

i’m not exaggerating. i really really wanted him to be born before christmas.

(actually, that’s not quite true. i nursed a secret daydream about him joyfully entering the world at sunrise on christmas morning. in my mind, the sun’s rays would slip softly through the window of the birth center just as he was born, and we would spend christmas morning celebrating him. that daydream, whimsical and ridiculous as it is, brought more moments of happy daydreaming than i care to admit.)

i just couldn’t endure the thought that he would be born after christmas. it seemed so anticlimactic, so lame. i wanted to share christmas with him, not to sit around on christmas day a million weeks pregnant, answering invasive questions about “progress.” he was to be part of the celebration, part of the season, the piece de resistance in the multi-course smorgasbord of holiday decadence.

my cheeks burn hot with shame now, as i admit that. the ugly naivety.

i hate fall.

the leaves die and let go, exposing the harsh lines of the trees.
the scales fell like leaves from my eyes, the scales that protected me from the harsh lines of reality.
darkness comes, suffocating the earth.

through the summer, gardens grow heavy with beautiful, tangible food.
that summer, my imagination grew a mirage world, shimmering with heat and light and softness and cherub.

and then the dark came.

each leaf holds a hope, a piece of my soul grown in soft rain and bright light.
they fall off of me, leaving my mind bare of dreams, bare of energy, a naked tree skeleton unprepared to weather winter’s storms.

as the land is harvested, so it is is done to me.
my resilience is harvested, and i cannot grow more until spring.

jack o’lanterns haunt the colorless night; their bright lights bring little comfort.
they mock the sun and burn the fingers of my summer dreams.
they cackle.

and how appropriate that in the midst of the season of death, we welcome the darkness with a celebration of all that is horrifying,
a celebration that messes with our sense of reality with costumes and the strange supernatural, replacing the summer’s mirage with a more sinister pretend.

in this sinister pretend-world of fall, terror haunts the in-between moments.
every in-between moment with my living children.

“don’t do that, you’ll poke your eye out.”
and suddenly, i see it.

“don’t stand in the bath.”
the terror.

“don’t run with that stick.”
dear god, no.

because the bare branches of my mind know. they know that fall brings death. fall brings darkness. fall brings suffocation. fall brings evil. fall kills children.

this is the first autumn in 4 years that isn’t bringing a child into our family, and for some reason, the part of my brain that does the thinking before i can think believes that it will take one away, because it did once already.

i’ve forgotten how to be normal this time of year.
i’ve forgotten how to love fall.

because this,
this is what trauma and grief do.

after the best thing is taken away, grief battles to take the rest away with it. trauma grief steals moments of joy and perverts them into terror. the poem of rest becomes a poem of death, because grief. always, because grief. grief took fall, and all those holidays and the multi-course meal of beauty and decadence, and holds them hostage behind walls of terror.

i miss fall.

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