Seasons of Change



Every fall, as the trees begin to change here in Western, New York, I am reminded of how change is always happening all around us. I don’t always choose to tap into it, but it is happening whether I do or not. This year, life has changed so many times that it has been hard to cope. As I contemplate all that is going on around me, I’m brought to the quote,

“People enter our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”


So much of the past year has focused on those in my life and all the changes that has occurred around me that impact my daily interactions.


For example, so much has changed for my kids as they get older from friends to likes to needs from me, for my husband and his job, and so much inside of me has changed. Always one to keep things in, the changes this year have me going out- emotionally, verbally, at times acting out (not always my best self in those moments for sure), and creatively. Like the trees going from green to yellow, orange, and red, then blown away by a strong wind, just as I get comfortable somewhere, something changes. Change happens quickly and gradually simultaneously. There is beauty in those branches for a short time, and then the next season comes. Seasons of life seem to be this way too lately.


This past March, my dad with whom I am very close, had his first stroke. The hardest part is even though I only live three miles from him, I was in a different part of the country when it happened and couldn’t get to him or my mom. And when I said I would fly back, I wouldn’t have been let in the hospital because of COVID. In a moment, my whole world changed, my dad changed, and our family was forever changed.


Now, through the grace of God (I know not everyone believes in God and I’m absolutely fine with that, but I do and I’m less apologetic these days about it) and great insurance, my dad was able to attend a rehab program and is doing okay. His treatment helped him move his limbs again and gain back some cognitive skills. And then, in June, I lost a very dear friend to cancer. Her illness was so quick, it stole her from the world within a month of diagnosis. One night we were talking about writing and the next about how scared she was she might not make it through to see her next birthday. At the end of that conversation, I told her I loved her (as we always did when we said goodbye) and that was the last thing we said to each other. The winds of change were at it again and a few days later she was gone. Just like that. Thank goodness she knew how I felt about her. It doesn’t change the grief, but it helps me feel just a little solace in a really shitty situation.


These unexpected events hit me like a ton of bricks, and most recently, my father has begun to have mini-strokes and seizures. Doctors are a bit baffled and aren’t sure what is causing it. Change keeps happening around me, impacting me, and most of all, making me grieve in ways I never expected. My children are facing grief for the first time as humans old enough to understand that loss happens and there is a powerlessness that goes along with it. I wish I could save them from the pain of knowing that illness and death happen. And honestly, grief is such a wicked bitch. She appears at the most unexpected times and causes me to feel and act in ways foreign. For me, the wave of emotions comes when I am driving, in between clients, or sometimes in the middle of the night when dreaming. I hold it together most days pretty well. Most people don’t even know what is going on. I’m not a big sharer. Never have been. It’s a gift and a curse. I want people to be able to come to me, but I struggle to let others help me. I often go internal. Sometimes I turn to work too much, but often just spend more time alone. I’m blessed to have bursts of creativity during these times that keep me looking forward, processing, and moving through the emotional rollercoaster. I also have a strong spirituality. It helps. And so do naps.


I realize though that I hide the grief not because people don’t understand, I don’t want to make them uncomfortable. So I will hold it in, carry it, and pretend I’m okay when I’m not to save others from feeling uncomfortable. I pick my attachment to them and worry about their possible emotions over my actual ones! And so, I will write it here. Maybe it is to get it out. Maybe it will let you know that if you are grieving, you truly are not alone in your grief. If I could carry it for you, I would. But maybe together we can just know that being strong doesn’t mean we have to hold it all in. Sharing it can help release the pain. It can allow those in whether it be for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. We need each other. I need you.

Thanks for sharing in my journey.


Authentic and brave,

Beth




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