October has Brought its Gold

The other day when I walked out of my office, the cool, crystal-clear air smelled like a Pennsylvania autumn—a breezy freshness with a touch of smokiness and a trace of cold that might be on its way. Just a couple weekends ago, I was there running a 5K with my sisters in memory of our mom.


And almost a year ago now, I was there for the month of November, spending most of my time with my mom. I treasure and mourn, remember and long for that month, praying that the details of those days will return more fully to my mind.




I drove Mom to her appointments, saw the sealed, metal door behind which she lay alone on a huge machine receiving radiation, met her kindly nutritionist doctor. I waited at the curb while she dashed through the drizzle to pick up fresh bread from Bakers on Broad. I took her Christmas shopping and chuckled when she asked if I was definitely planning to buy myself the purple sweater. I knew she was up to something, and at Christmas I opened the sparkly purple earrings that match it.


I wore the sweater and earrings today as October prepares to leaves us with its glimmer and shine.


It pains me to think of these memories. But for the first time since Mom’s death, I found myself this month longing to remember scenes from her life more than the images of her dying and death crowded them out. I want to gather and cherish good memories rather than avoid them because of the ache they bring.


It’s a sign of healing. October has brought its gold, changing the world since it began 31 days ago. It leaves me with a new glimmer of hope and joy in the gift of the past. And in the air I sense that something refreshing might be on its way.



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