I'm sitting here this morning, with my tea and a few purring cats, watching my neighbour rake some leaves in her yard. As she sweats away, industriously organizing the leaves into piles, more and more leaves are falling all around her, like confetti. And it's stunningly beautiful. She looks a bit frustrated, as she goes back over areas she has already raked to catch the leaves that continue to fall all around her.
Last weekend was one of those milestones that no one wants to experience, but that sooner or later, we all do. The one year anniversary of the death of a loved one. What a year it's been. I'm glad we did not, like so many others right now, have to go through my mother's last few months and days under covid restrictions, and yet, I wish she was still here.
There have been a lot of milestones this year. I'm told the first year is the most difficult as I pass these days and events without her for the first time. It's been even weirder to pass them under social distancing and lock down and all the ways our world has changed in a year. In a strange way, the frenetic pace of work and 'the new normal', has allowed me to push a lot of the emotions aside. I am often like my neighbour, raking as fast as I can, dealing with the leaves that I can reach and hoping I can keep up as more and more pile around me. I keep retracing ground I have already covered because if I stop, I will be buried by the leaves that are yet to fall.
Some friends have reached out to ask me how I am doing. I've been sidestepping those check ins and responding with work related answers. Not because I don't appreciate that they care and that they are thinking of me, but because I'm afraid to stop and let the emotions overwhelm me by giving an honest and vulnerable answer. In those moments, I am the whirling dervish of rakers.
But not today. In this moment, I turn to my own yard. The leaves are swirling and dancing all around me and I am a part of them. I am immersed in the way they look and smell and sound and feel. Most importantly, I've left the rake in the garage. That's the truest answer I can give to you, a year later.