By Tom Peyton
For meteorologists, September 1st marks the beginning of Fall. For most parents, September means a return to school for their children, and for most people, a return to the routines of the Fall season. For those in the world of grief and loss, the season can trigger the loss, pain, and sadness waves that come at unexpected moments. What helps me to navigate through another season without my loved one is to recall the beauty of the season and all my wife taught me.
My wife loved the Fall season. As residents of Upstate New York living near the foothills of the Adirondack mountains, we have a beautiful perch to see nature and all its beauty during the Fall. The weather changes from hot and humid temperatures to cool and brisk days. As time passes, leaves change to magnificent colors reflecting the beauty of nature. While driving, I often pull to the side of the road to admire the splendor and glory of mother nature. The sights and sounds of a world that shows its munificence and majesty are, at times, breathtaking. I genuinely believe nature has a way of comforting the broken-hearted as I view all its beauty and vastness.
My work schedule remains busy, but I also enjoy returning to the support groups I run and co-run. My church group starts next week, and several congregants have contacted me about our start-up day. I know they are very interested in sharing after a three-month hiatus.
I look forward to hearing about the struggles, successes, progress, and challenges that are all part of the grief journey.
Recently, I visited my son and grandchildren in South Carolina for a couple of weeks. I smiled and laughed as I heard them share how much they loved their new home, having moved from New Hampshire to the south. I know they won’t miss the harsh winters, and they are looking forward to the opportunities they will encounter as they travel a new path.
While there, I attended the opening of my grandchildren’s school. The excitement of a new school year, making new friends, participating in after-school activities, and enjoying all the opportunities a new environment can offer brought excitement to each of them.
The transition they are undergoing as new students at new schools in a new state gave me some insight into a different kind of loss. They have experienced a loss. They left their schools and home in another state to move to another part of the country. They are learning to adapt to the changes they now experience and the opportunities change can offer. Their youth and excitement will allow them an easy transition, I hope.
We widowers also must learn how to adapt to the changes we did not want to happen. We must adjust to a new life. It’s easy to try and avoid it and stay in the darkness of sorrow and pain. It takes courage to make small steps without a timeline on how and when you should do it, but we must take those steps every day.
Slightly over two years ago, my wife died, and my world changed forever. I have taken several steps but have not moved into dating or made any significant changes in my life. I am still getting comfortable being me and feel good about my life. Every day is an opportunity to learn more about myself and to move forward at my pace. I feel empowered when I can help others and be a resource to my friends. I have no timeline on how life will move forward, but I take steps every day to be the best person I can be in my new life. I owe it to my wife to continue to be a father to our children, a grandfather to my grandchildren, a good friend to my friends, and the best I can be to others who need my help. Find your path, brothers, and be the best you can be.
Tom Peyton can be contacted via Facebook Messenger