Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
What is this feeling that comes as the seasons change? You know what I mean, it seems to affect everyone. As I get older, each month has a birthday or the anniversary of someone’s death. I remember getting annoyed with my mother and grandmother as they would go through their litany of so and so would have been 87 today, when did they pass, oh yeah, back in ’64. I couldn’t understand why they were being so morose. I remember my mother going through her phone book saying how half her friends were dead. October does this to me, this time when blossoms die and fruit no longer has stones. I get morose. This past summer, with the help of a social network, I reconnected and got to hang out with an old friend and his wife. We hadn’t seen each other in 39 years, I still saw the same twinkle in his eye. I had forgotten I had written to him every single day of his boot camp, he remembered like it was yesterday. We started talking about all of our old friends and to my utter astonishment, they were all dead…all of them! Funny; I didn’t think of this conversation during the summer, long days and warm nights just don’t have the same pall as a brisk dark October night. And here it is folks, the litany. No, I won’t go into the personal details. I am stunned by the fact that it didn’t hit me until tonight. This brings me to where I live, (doesn’t everything?) We live in constant states of change. Two areas where this is most evident is when we are close to a growing child or when we are close to the aging. I have both in my world, being grandma to an almost 6 year old and living in a community designated for “seniors”. When my mother passed away in 2005, I went to bed for 6 months. We had plans to go out to dinner the next evening and I still had the food in the freezer to create her favorite meal. It was in the freezer since December, she had been too ill to come over that Christmas. As I write this, I feel tears welling up, now where is this coming from? Does grieving never end? Guess not; at least not yet for me. Mom was two months short of turning 89 when she passed. Many of my wonderful neighbors are well into their 80’s. I am always willing to be of service when needed, and here is the pinch, I am afraid to get too close. How much loss can I handle? Since the death of my mother, I have experienced a suicide of someone I loved and raised as my own, a suicide of a former husband, and the failing health of several neighbors causing them to move to nursing homes. Does anyone want to cuddle up with death? I know there was a time I was very unstable and courted the idea of ending my life, thinking of it as a solution rather than a natural part of life. Now, as I age, I hear my mother’s voice saying “death is part of life, get used to it.” Well mom, call me chicken, call me unrealistic, call me anything you want; I miss you, I mourn for you and October makes me weep.