In the blink of an eye, the leaves have changed, the sun is dropping lower and the temperatures have stalled. Summer is leaving us behind but Autumn, like a true friend is bringing warmth and homely comforts to tide us over as we lose the light in favour of the dark. Bright pastels become deep burgundies and clean fresh sheets become heaps and piles of woollen and soft blankets as we dig out our coats, our scarves and our mittens. In some aspects it feels as if no time has passed since last Fall, but to look back and remember all that has been lost brings a new wave of sadness in a time of year that should bring families closer together.
This past weekend has been a long stroll down memory lane returning to the village of where my family and I originate. On Friday me and Ma visited Chatsworth Country Fair; it used to be a family tradition to visit and immerse ourselves in Harris Tweed, Clay Pigeon shooting, pork and stuffing rolls dripping with apple sauce whilst Parachuters fall from where the Hot Air Balloons rise. It has been a fair few years and with a rare dash of spontaneity we both decided it was time to return to our roots. We laughed, shed a few tears and most of all felt uplifted to be in a place that was filled with the memories of Pa and everything he loved. To wander back to the Defender as stags bolted through the fields and as the sun softly lowered in the pale blue sky felt like therapy, it felt like a fresh stitch had been pushed in my aching heart and brought a fragment of it back closer together.
On Saturday, our feet still aching we journeyed over to Eyam, our home village, and joined in the Carnival festivities. Two of my Aunts and three Cousins still live in the Village plus many family friends who cry with shock and delight to see us for the first time in nearly a decade. Just like the funeral we shared treasured memories of youth, of good times and looked to the future as we come together to heal. We laughed, genuine hearty laughter and smiled fondly knowing that each one of us was on the mend. Grief isn’t a straight path and I don’t think it can ever be banished, it is a tidal wave of despair but the breaks between waves can be not only calm but content.
September is a new start, almost as much as January. It brings vivid memories of ironed uncreased blouses, grey knee length pleated skirts and vibrant red book bags that in my case had a hive of bees buzzing on the front. The seasons feel as if they flip reverse and shops become filled with Christmas treasures. Summertime was never my favourite and it will always now bring new heartache that over time will fade, at least I can only hope it will dwindle.
But we know the seasons return, just as our loved ones do. In the sound of a familiar song, the scent of their aftershave or the feel of their hand as we wrap up in their scarves and coat. Autumn for now is to embraced, the log fire is to be lit, the kettle boiled and a time to reflect, to sit in peace and to come to terms with all that has come to pass. It is a new start but it is an opportunity to keep remembering, to keep smiling and to know that the spirit of him is always around.