Dealing with Death

There are seasons in life.   In spring, we have new life.  Everything has new energy, growth is abundant.

Spring begins to slow as the weather heats up.  In the summer, we enjoy the effects of spring.  The sun comes out, and even the most reticent turtle can be found sunning himself on the logs among the lilly pads.

Fall seems to hit without warning.  The temperature takes a sudden drop, and we are warned of impending storms.  Just as we get ourselves braced for brisk weather, an Indian Summer raises up and lulls us.  Indian summer is my favorite two weeks of the year.  You can wear sweatshirts morning and night, and shorts in the afternoon – the best of all seasons.  But the ground cools from longer nights, and soon the sun doesn’t heat things up so well.

Fall is a time of death.  Leaves begin to turn – but they stay on the trees – until a big storm.  It is the storms of fall that cause the trees to release past successes that have now turned.  Even then, we will find trees holding onto a single leaf clear through winter.

Winter is cold – but it forces companionship.  Winter is stark, but it reflects great beauty.

The interesting thing about life is that it is the first buds of spring that push off the final dead leaves.  New life begins again with renewed energy.

It is tempting, when people we love die, to curl up like a fall leaf.  A part of us dies.  We lose an important part of what makes us unique.  As we acknowledge what we have lost, we define who we are without those old leaves.  Just as a tree digs deeper in winter, building new strength for spring, this time of loss is also a time of depth and meaning.  As we define our new selves, we then find new direction, new energy.

Some seasons seem interminably long.  Every once in a while, we have a winter that seems unending.  Yet, the hard winter that stocks up snow in the mountains that give us lush, rich spring and summer without drought.  We survive these winters by looking at the positive – things go slower, so we have more time to enjoy relationships – we have time to reflect and learn new skills.  Spring will come again, but you can’t have spring until you have let go of the past and stored up through the depths of winter.

In loving memory of my mother in law, Jean Martinez.  1926 – 2010

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