Years ago I was traveling through Italy, making my way to Palermo, where my newly discovered cousin, Ciro, and his family awaited. I was thirty at the time and within days my life would change.
I arrived in Sicily, by ferry, on October 31st, All Hallows’ Eve, and was greeted with openness and joy by a family I barely knew. Nearing midnight, of that very same day, I was leaving Sicily. By the end of the next day, All Saints Day, my Mother was dead. Six months later, my Father was dead. Orphaned at thirty.
That was twenty-six years ago. Nearly half my life. I’ve lived a whole other lifetime without them. Three unsuccessful marriages, a daughter, heartache and joy, all spent without their knowledge and love.
It’s autumn and nature vividly reminds us of the cycle of life. The thing is, it’s not about death this time of year. Sure, the flowers die and the trees let go, but there is still life. It’s muted and quieter. We go on knowing that a renewal will come. It’s temporary. This knowledge gives us courage, and, if we are aware, an appreciation of the beauty. The world goes off to slumber with a spectacular display. A deep exhalation allowing us to slow our breathing. To find our center.
I always grieve a little this time of year. For my parents. For the paths not taken. But then I breathe. I revel in the color and light. Stella was born in autumn. She is that spectacular display. That promise that life doesn’t end.
So. Mom. Dad. I carry you in my heart. I miss you both.