Sunday, October 25, 2009
Sometimes October Breaks My Heart
Yesterday I heard a powerful rustling outside the house, and turned to watch the oak tree outside the window shed half its leaves...in a single gust of wind. They all fell at once, in a rush, coating the ground beneath with giant, curling brown-paper confetti. No time to float, or linger. Just here. Whoosh! Gone.
It seems that in the space of a week we have moved from soul-soaring, saturated color...to a flurry of falling leaves. And I feel my spirits falling along with them. I look to the mountains above our house, and the cloud cover has dropped, obscuring the mountaintops with a thick, hazy fog. I feel similar clouds sinking over my heart. A heaviness sets in.
It's not just the weather, nature's life cycle, that does this to me. It used to be that certain dates in October would bludgeon me with their weight: the 7th, the 10th, the 12th, the 25th...
The day I felt no movement, heard no heartbeat, delivered a lifeless daughter, and buried her. A whole month when my body could not seem to get warm, stay warm, even wearing a winter coat indoors. Now their arrival is barely noticeable. Memories just descend in quiet moments, like a blanket of leaves.
I'm driving home from work, and suddenly she is with me, and I am back there, reliving a thought or a feeling, a moment that was key to her passing. I might even find myself mentally cradling her little head again. Sometimes I'm surrounded by her presence and the sweetness of it moves me to tears. Other times I see an eight-year-old girl and think, instead of baptizing our daughter, we had a baptism by fire.
Last night there was a woman who reminded me of my mother. It was also an October when my mother realized she would, in fact, die. Resigned. And told me so. No pink ribbons could possibly make me any more aware, and the irony is certainly not lost on me. In October.
Sometimes, in October, my feet are so heavy they scarcely move. Sometimes, in October, it is really hard to get out of bed in the morning. And hard not to go back there after the kids go to school. Sometimes, in October, I need to bury myself in a book, escape into someone else's story. Sometimes, in October, my eyes well up with tears with no warning at all, triggered by the most fleeting gesture or thought.
Don't worry about me. I'm okay. I've made it through lots of Octobers, and I'll make it through countless more. But if you see me and my smile's not quite as bright, or my step doesn't seem as light, if the look in my eyes feels distant or my brain acts a little fuzzy...it's not personal. It's just that I'm having an October moment. Or maybe a whole October day. Because sometimes October breaks my heart.
That said, I know that a broken heart ultimately pairs up with a contrite spirit, leading us Home. It's the sacrifice He requires from us. And in that perspective it seems like a very small a price to pay.