Every year, she does it to me. Summer leaves me in the chancy company of Autumn, and it feels as though I'm a child and my vivacious young babysitter rushed off on a date and deposited me in the care of some dull, gray haired auntie instead. Not this year. Summer has shown me favor. I didn't realize it until around 6pm when I noticed that golden slant of the sun as the planet turned faster away and the day began to slip from sight. What sunshine today; what warmth-- and the crickets still carry on as if it were late July. Thank you, Summer, for your dignity this year, you refrained from showy storms and moody weather. It makes me look at you differently--you don't really leave at all, do you? Autumn isn't the stuffy old auntie, but rather, it is you ripening.
This year's exercises in grief aren't just for Eileen, my mother. I am coming of age in so many ways. I also grieve the passing of my youth. Last Friday I had rapid fire hot flashes, about one every thirty minutes. My joints complain and my gray hair is legion, however well hidden. My skin is spotting in places and my eyesight needs lenses. My son is taking college courses. There's no way I can honestly pass myself off for thirty any more. As I've learned, grief is an active process. It is adjusting my relationship with whatever is lost. So, I make the adjustments and be happy and grateful that I am alive in this world of beauty. Like Summer, I am ripening into an older woman, without heavy weather.
I am blessed. There is so much to do and even more to look forward to. It is a shame that Mom cannot be here to share in my optimism or be my study buddy; and yes it is also a shame that my body is showing signs of aging, but that is life. I want this life exactly as it is.