After the Leaves Have Fallen

A disclaimer of sorts…although I have experienced loss in my life, I have been fortunate enough not to have lost a parent and I don’t presume to know the sorrow that my husband and some others with such a loss are feeling this season. I do hope that the words in my writing can bring some comfort to those who have had this or other significant losses.

Beaverfork Lake

I love autumn and the changing of the seasons…I work in downtown Conway and that area, plus my commute to and from town, has some lovely trees with beautiful foliage that rivals anything you see in photographs. Two years ago, I began randomly taking photos of pretty trees as I would go about my daily business, nothing particularly well framed or even focused at times, just quick pictures with my phone. I even wrote a post in 2017 about how if we wait to enjoy beauty or life until we “have time” and circumstances are perfect, it might be too late ( )

This year, I found myself taking pictures of many of the same areas (in some cases the same trees) whenever I was out and about. Sometime in the last few weeks, I noticed I was stopping less often to take pictures and seeing fewer and fewer bright colors and more bare branches. Some of the trees seem to drop their leaves all at once, after a particularly windy day, while other had leaves that slowly fell over a period of weeks.

It’s been a difficult year of loss for many people I know – in our own family, Trever lost his mother after a several years long ordeal with cancer and my friend Rhonda passed within three months of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. I have several friends who have lost family members and will be entering this holiday season with whatever joy and celebration they feel tempered with a sense of loss and sadness. Losing someone, whether it is quickly like the leaves after a storm, or slowly over time is never easy and continuing on with traditions and holidays without them may seem unbearable.

As I drive around town now, I remember how lovely the trees looked a few weeks ago and even though there are many bare branches, the colors that that blanket the ground are a reminder of how life, like the seasons, continues. Similarly, our memories and the pictures in our minds of those we have loved and lost remains long after their physical selves are gone. Although the leaves have fallen, the trees remain, rooted into the ground as a reminder of what was and what always will be.

Dedicated to the memory of those we lost in 2019.

-Karri Temple Brackett
November 24, 2019

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