November has arrived, and slowly, inevitably, the glory days of fall are fading.
Oh sure, there are still a few brilliant trees of red and yellow, full of their fiery leaves. But most of them are past their peak.
Some hold their leaves aloft, but rather than the bold, vivid hues of early autumn, these leaves are pale, lifeless and drained.
Other trees are thinning down to bare branches as their spent color falls to the ground. Fading to dull shades of brown, the downed leaves lie tattered and torn, blown this way and that by the chill winds.
These are the bittersweet times of autumn, which can fill me with a sense of sadness and loss.
This year, the seasonal melancholy is underscored by my mother's declining health. Physically, she is well enough. She lives independently, keeps house, does her own shopping, and entertains herself with a bounty of books, games, TV programs and puzzles. It is her mental condition that is unraveling. To most people, she seems to have momentary bouts of confusion, but usually bounces back with a witty joke or clever observation that serves to restore confidence in her clear head.
But I am not most people. I am her daughter. And she lets down her guard with me. Her anger, frustration, helplessness, hopeless, and confusion come spilling out in our daily phone calls. I let her talk as long as she likes, often an hour or two, and her thoughts scatter and storm across her mind like a swirl of dry leaves caught in the wind.
I am forced to admit that she is now a mere shadow of the person she used to be.
I am challenged to know how to deal with her bitter anger.
I am afraid to think about what the future might hold.
But I dare to hope.
Just as my roses refuse to stop blooming, even in the fading sunlight and grey gloom of November, I will trust that there are good things yet to come in the autumn season of my mother's life, and I will hold my hands open to accept them as they arrive.
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More stories about my mom:
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Other stories of hope, offered from me to you: