It’s fall again. Every year the weather cools down, the leaves turn colors, and I notice I’m walking on a bed of soggy brown leaves instead of gravel on my way to the lake. The Halloween decorations pop up in stores and on the neighborhood houses. The days get darker earlier, the sunny days fewer, and then one day it starts raining and doesn’t stop until July.
I love Halloween. I love the colorful foliage, and I love the smell and feel of the air after the rain has washed out the stagnant summer heat. But I also remember enjoying these fall days when I heard my dad committed suicide. So with every fall I get a dash of depression, some years worse than others. It could also be seasonal affective disorder, the sadness that summer is ending, or that I also lost two pregnancies in October. Whatever the reasons, fall is a dismal time of year. Yes, I love Halloween and Christmas even more, but then there’s the gloomy months of January and February to suffer through, and then the tease of March and April as the weather can’t decide if it’s going to warm up or stay grey and dreary forever. It’s like the weather is a physical manifestation of my emotional turmoil.
Maybe this is why I decided to revive this blog. As much as I try to “move on” from my dad’s suicide, I can’t let go of it. Every October is like hitting the reset button on my grief. Every year it’s easier, but every year it’s still there, and I have no reason to believe that it will ever completely go away. I’m not even sure I want it to. When the grief goes away, so does the memory of my dad.
When I started this blog, I'm not sure I knew its purpose. I think I used it as a place to post my fears and thoughts without any sort of organization or goal. That was fine and somewhat cathartic, but now I have a better idea of its intent. This year, I decided to handle my grief differently. I look back over the five years and see all the heartache and missed opportunities, but there is also a lot of amazing and joyful things that took place. It’s all about perspective. When you look back on your life, what do you see? Do you see all the bad things or do you see all the good? You will see whatever you are looking for, so where do you choose to dwell? I’m going to stop dwelling on the awfulness of my dad’s stroke and suicide, and start focusing on what I can do to keep his happy memories alive.
This blog is now about honoring those we have lost in the past by keeping the joy they brought to us alive in the present. By making this choice, I hope to turn October into a celebration of his life instead of a celebration of Prozac.