Splendiferous is a real word that captures the essence of the Fall season. It speaks of the beauty, glamour, majesty, and any adjective you can think of that describes the magnificence of the season.
I am blessed to live in Upstate New York. The fall season is the best time of the year. For my late wife, it marked the beginning of the best time of the year: Fall, Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving, and then Christmas and a New Year. It’s a festive time when families decorate their homes; children celebrate with costumes and candy, leading into a time for family and friends to gather and celebrate a special time of the year.
For widowers and anyone suffering from loss, it can be an immensely challenging time. Memories of wonderful times together, sumptuous meals, lots of laughs, and fun with family and friends all seem to hit us hard when we do not have our loved ones to share the time with and celebrate the joy of the season.
As I drive around while working, I notice the trees changing colors and becoming absolutely breathtaking. Yes, tears have flown and continue to flow as I remember my wife and me enjoying our time leaf-peeping and watching nature unfold into splendor just before it gets very cold.
The other day I stopped to stare for a while at the beauty of the trees and then reflect on the many times my wife and I would visit our special places in Northeastern New York in the autumn. As I paused to enjoy nature, I laughed about our times together. I thought about different places we shared lunch and just basked in the glow of nature’s beauty. I shed tears because my wife was not with me, but I also thought about gratitude. I am grateful that my wife made me stop and enjoy the beauty of nature.
I have a very demanding job, and it consumes, as my wife used to say, “too- much” of my time. I would get caught up with work and still do at times and fail to see and appreciate all that is around me.
I fail to give thanks for nature and all it gives us as we change from one season to another. I recall a time not too long ago when my dying wife taught me another important lesson about life.
My wife loved life. She appreciated every day of her life. During the last few months of her life, despite her illness, we traveled as a family to Rhode Island to visit the beach in late September. Despite it being somewhat chilly- I am being liberal with that description we had my wife bundled with blankets and gave her hot chocolate as she sat in her wheelchair at the beach. She loved every minute of her time and enjoying nature. Seagulls were flying around the beach looking for food, people walking on the sand, waves crashing against the sand, and a beautiful skyline. We laughed and joked, but then I gave her quiet time alone to absorb all the beauty she saw, which I knew she loved.
That experience taught me an important lesson about grief. It is so easy to get caught up in grief that you fail to see the beauty around you.
I have friends and family members who reach out to me regularly and invite me to lunch or dinners and want to spend time together.
I am taking in the beauty of nature. I still talk to my wife, as I said in the past. I thanked her for teaching me to appreciate the beauty of nature that I often neglect. I thank her for teaching me to appreciate all that I can from people and the things around me. I am grateful she came into my life to teach me, love me, and for sharing her gifts with me and others.
Grief is a journey, brothers not meant to keep us in darkness but to encourage us to reflect on what we learned in our years with our spouses and how we can always pay it forward. Learn from your late spouse and spread that love, kindness, and appreciation to others.