Tricounty News

A change of seasons

Many people like fall. Evenings turn cool, relieving the heat of summer. Days are getting shorter. Leaves begin to turn color. So far, there’s just a hint of that here and there.

Personally, I prefer spring. It’s the rebirth of everything (especially here in the sub-arctic North).

Fall represents to me the long, slow decay of summer, and color. It is a foretaste of death, in a way.

It may be the dying grass, flowers and foliage that  predisposes me to think more of death and dying. So when there seemed to be an inordinate number of my peers’ parents dying in the past month or so, I take note.

No matter how long you have to prepare for it, we’re never really ready for the death of a loved one. Those of us in middle age are reminded often that it’s not uncommon for people younger than we are to finish their life’s journey all too soon. Somehow it’s easier when the deceased is someone’s grandmother rather than someone’s sibling or child. Yet, that happens too and there’s not a lot we can do.

Dear friends in California have gathered to wait for their father to let go of this life’s mortal coil. He has dementia, so in a way he’s suffering pleasantly, if that’s possible. The family has time to say their “goodbyes,” but he’s already gone, he’s been gone for a few years now, mentally. And now they wait for his body to fail.

This reminds me of fall; watching the green of summer slowly but surely fade away.

Knowing how fragile and short life can be, I have two pieces of wisdom to share:

Be kind to each other. Don’t go to sleep angry. Don’t speak if you can’t say something nice. Don’t let that sniping remark on Facebook be your last word. Don’t miss an opportunity to bring a smile to someone’s face; it may be the only one they have that day. Even when others don’t deserve it, still choose to be kind.

Be kind to yourself. We are so often our harshest critics. What we may forgive in others, we punish in ourselves, forever. Be kind. Don’t sweat the small things (and they’re all small things).