This is my favorite time of year in North Carolina. As I listen to Eva Cassidy singing Autumn Leaves, they are indeed falling. The sky is that peculiar intense shade of azure that happens this time of the year; the mornings are crisp and the days are still warm…today is the first day there was a freeze at my house.
I am easing into the sixth month since my husband died. It’s been a huge adjustment. I miss him all the time. We were together for 25 years, and we had something together that everyone should be lucky enough to have. This time of the year, we would always take a Sunday ride up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the changing leaves. I let that pass this year; most of the color has already come and gone. I’ve been thinking about the cycle of renewal that represents. Those leaves swirl in the wind and fall to the ground, and come spring, the new growth begins again. Kind of like me. I’ve fallen as far as I can go. But I have to look ahead and think about the new growth to come.
I’ve had to do things I’m not used to doing, like sleeping by myself. Making coffee and cooking for one. Going to the home improvement store and navigating the maze of building supplies for some of the things that need doing around the house. Climbing a ladder. Using a drill. Killing a big spider. Getting a snake off the porch. Moving heavy furniture. Painting. Being my own roadie and designated driver. There’s nobody else here to do it. I depended on him for a lot of years (and in fairness, he could depend on me for many things). But now I have to depend on myself.
I’ve been keeping myself very busy. I finally finished my 12th book, which has been three years in the making, and it will be out sometime this week. I already have another in progress, one that I’m helping a friend of mine with. In addition to working, which I am fortunate enough to get to do at home, every day I have some kind of project at the house, a home improvement, a necessary repair, cleaning and clearing, anything to keep myself occupied so I don’t just lie here wallowing in misery and loneliness. I’m blessed with family and good friends who have sustained me. My dogs are great company. I’m playing in two bands and going to jam sessions. I still feel funny going places by myself that Champ would have accompanied me to, but I know he wouldn’t want me to hide in the house and stop living. He would want me to do just what I am doing: keep putting one foot in front of the other. Find things to laugh at. Remember the good times. Be grateful for the time we had together, and be grateful he’s not suffering anymore.
And I miss you, most of all, my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall.