This time of year brings to mind all of the changes and challenges of months past. Working hard to stay in my lane, resisting the urge to stray into others.
As the light of day grows shorter and the leaves on the trees change color, I realize the seasons are not the only things changing right now.
I have changed.
I am no longer the wife whose husband suddenly decided to end their marriage. Gone is the girl curled up on the bed sobbing and wondering what it was she did wrong. Ceasing to exist is the voice in my head encouraging me to take matters into my own hands in order to end the pain of his rejection.
I have shed the tears of the lost.
I have mourned the death of what I thought my future would be.
I have cast aside the demons that have plagued me these past years.
I no longer crave the comfort of an old love.
The seasons have changed and so have I.
I am stronger than I ever have been.
I am capable of living my life on my own.
I am who I am without the need to pretend to be someone else.
I am the person I was always meant to be.
Today as the autumn winds whipped through the trees, tearing leaves from the branches, tossing them without thought or concern for their safety, trusting in the age old process of letting go of the old in order to make way for the new, I thought of my journey and how similar it is to the changing of the seasons.
My winter began on May 5, 2012. I was in shock and frozen in place, standing in the middle of a lake with nothing but a thin layer of ice bearing the weight of my pain. Afraid to move for fear of disrupting the fragile peace I had created between the self that wanted to live and the one that wanted to die. As I took a baby step forward I heard the ice begin to crack and before I knew it all was dark. Quiet. The pain gone. I was gone.
The thaw began three days later when the warm spring air carried the voice of my daughters across the frozen lake where they landed gently upon my heart, urging me to reach for the branch they were holding out and I, with all of the strength I could muster, grabbed it and did not let go until they pulled me back to life.
It was an unpredictable spring; some days the rain was but a drizzle and others a torrential downpour that I thought would never end. Family and friends brought with them sunshine and love. Without which I would not have noticed the buds on the trees or the tulips poking their colorful heads out of the soil.
I often felt the hands of Winter trying to pull me back into the icy water of death. However, Spring won out and moved into Summer where I enjoyed moments of life surrounded by the beauty of nature and love of family. Each day I moved forward was a victory.
As the seasons changed so did I.
Beginning the New Year by traveling across the world to immerse myself in Zimbabwean culture, rescuing and caring for animals, making lifelong friends proved to be the healing tonic I had been searching for. It was such an incredible experience I did not want to leave. I had to settle for leaving pieces of my heart and soul along with the promise to return.
Arriving home I realized Winter had not left after all. I did my best to hold on to what I had gained in Africa. I spent a lot of time with my herd and the healing continued. Once again Spring turned to Summer and life moved forward.
It’s been 18 months since that day in May. I have fought my way through two Winters and have been blessed with as many Springs and Summers.
Then there is Fall…
I love this time of year and today especially; beautiful shades of autumn flying through the air only to land in a pile on the ground, begging to be kicked, scooped up and tossed into the sky like so much confetti. Which I did with childlike abandon while my herd formed a circle of love and acceptance around me.
I am an autumn baby. I am blessed with a visceral connection to this season of dramatic colorful change and the beauty that comes with it. I feel peace, love and light today. I feel nostalgic about certain events and years gone by.
Most of all I feel gratitude. I am grateful to each and every one of you that have walked this path with me. Through tears and laughter, you were there for me. You are still here for me. And I for you.
The seasons will continue to change and so will I.