On Autumnal endings and beginnings in October

This is such a beautiful tender time of the year for me.  The autumn is both a time of loss and renewal.  My parents passed in the autumn, yet autumn is a time of new possibilities and fresh starts.

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Life/ death.  The extremes?

Or two sides of the same coin or exactly the same?  For isn’t one simply the other?  Is the dark abyss before birth and after death simply the same graceful infinity that unites EVERY thing in this finite universe?

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The overhead horizon.  They want to say something, the dead.

They smoke but don’t eat, they don’t breathe but still have their voices.

I’ll hurry through the streets as if I’m one of them.

The darkening cathedral, heavy as a moon, ebbs and flows.

– Tomas Tranströmer, Deep in Europe from For the Living and the Dead (translated from original Swedish by Don Coles)

Avlyssnad horisont.  De vill säga något, de döda.

De röker men äter inte, de andas inte men har rösten kvar.

Jag kommer att skynda genom gatorna som en av dem.

Den svartande katedralen, tung som en måne, gör ebb och flod.

– Tomas Tranströmer, Djupt i Europa from För levande och döda.

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Recalling this time of year with my father:

October 11, 2012

Dad and I spent the evening in emergency to replace his catheter.  We watched the debate and laughed and talked about life.

October 12, 2005

Dad’s first sketch after his September 21, 2005 stroke:

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October 13, 2012

My father is dying.  I accept it.  He unwinds before me.  I let him go.  But losing my best friend is more painful than I anticipated.

October 15 2012

My father’s last writing:

 

And though at times, the wave hits me and that drowning saudade washes over me,  I know that without the grounding of loss, I would not have the air with which to fly.

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. – George Eliot

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Read Drawn Together (free PDF):

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Sunday morning visit with my mother.

It’s Sunday morning. I’ve been up awhile. Dog is walked. Pot of coffee almost gone. Parrot loud. Rest of the household asleep. Making pancakes.

On Sundays, with Corrie on in the background, I make pancakes and visit with my mom. She’s there with me and we can talk freely about all the wonderful trivial things mothers and daughters share.

I am feeling especially aware of her these days- not only as I anticipate her birthday on Wednesday (she would be 78). I am really allowing myself to converse with her freely about my life as her daughter. Not idealizing it. Not demonizing it. But celebrating it. Acknowledging the umbilical cord she never cut, acknowledging that when I took steps to cut it, she (coincidentally?) died shortly afterwards. I know at times that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck. I know also that umbilical cord sustained me and enriched me and connected me to all the women before me and after me.

I know my mom was in pain. I know also that we were best of friends. I celebrate our gentle last year together. I am infused by her. I was scared of her. I adore her. I understand her.

And as the pancake fries, and as the house smells of coffee and melted butter and Sweden- I chat with mom. Lightly fully lovingly.

Though Mom loved the Spring and it’s colourful message of hope and renewal, my mom was autumn. She was born as the leaves turned and she died as the cold set in.

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