Where I live, we have distinct seasons four times a year. The fall season is one of my favorites. The trees begin to change their wardrobe from summer greens to yellows, oranges, and all the lovely shades of red. Add in bright sunshine and clear blue skies ~ what’s not to love? Even though winter is waiting in the wings, the crisp freshness of Indian summer makes it seem far away. All too soon the bright colors will fade and the leaves will begin to fall . . . which reminds me of our falling tears.
With each autumn season for the past ten years my mind quite naturally goes to a place of sadness. I long for my firstborn, who no longer sees the beauty around us. He loved all the seasons with the exception of falling leaves and here’s why.
The first autumn in our current home found our boys helping their dad rake leaves to either burn or add to the compost pile. Our large back yard was full of towering maples which meant lots of cleanup. During this aching raking workout one of the boys piped up, “Hey, Dad, we’re going to cut down all the trees before next fall, aren’t we?” This question still brings a smile to my face. Back in those days we had two boys at home and both had bright futures, or so we thought. Little did we know that we would outlive our firstborn. He died by suicide sixteen years later.
That first fall after my son had died, I longed to talk with him. My logical mind knew he could not receive mail, but I wrote a letter to him anyway. Whenever my heart was overflowing with yearning, I wrote him a letter. Recently I came across a large envelope. Curious what I could have stored in there, I reached in and pulled out a sheaf of papers. There was my collection of letters that I had written to my son for a year following his death.
The first letter was written during Indian summer ten years ago. It verifies that I have not changed. I still miss him with each beautiful October that passes, and, of course, every other month as well. No doubt you, too, remember special times that foster fond memories. (If it is yet too soon for you to remember good times, don’t be disheartened. They will come. It seems like the mind is totally focused on the bad memories for a time.)
I don’t know if you write letters to your loved one. I never could have imagined that I would be sharing my private thoughts with my readers, but it seems quite natural to do so, since I have been blogging for several years now. As I picked up my first letter and read it again, it seemed timely to share a portion of it with you. If nothing else, perhaps it will inspire you to write letters of your own. It’s not a useless activity. It’s one of the things we can do to help our healing.
My Dearest Son,
It’s Monday and the coldest day we have had this fall. You are missing the beautiful changes in color brought on by cooler temperatures. The leaves are quickly losing their grip on the branches and swirling in the wind. Your brother has moved south and away from the seasonal changes you both have known all your lives. He will miss snow this winter unless he makes a trip home.
I find myself longing for you. Today we received another memorial gift in your memory. This one is from the school where you received your degree. They remembered you fondly and wanted to honor your memory. So many people loved you and miss you. If only you could have felt that love while you were living. If only . . .
We love you so much, Son. We hurt that all we have left of you are memories. We know we live on borrowed time. None of us knows how many days we have on this earth, but we never expected you to decide to stop living. How could you do that because of a GF, and one who did not appreciate you for the wonderful person you were? I cannot hold anything against her. I cannot have anger towards her eating at me. Whatever part she played in your death, she will undoubtedly suffer with your memory the rest of her life. She was definitely not worth dying for. Maybe you just couldn’t face being lonely again.
We don’t know what you were thinking. How I wish I understood. I know it will all be made plain one day when Jesus returns. As these hope-filled verses say, “On that day, with a command that thunders into the world, with a voice of a chief heavenly messenger, and with a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 VOICE), and when He comes, your precious face is the first one I want to see. Then all the reasons why you died will seem unimportant. See you soon, my sweet Son.
For now, dear reader, your tears and mine fall . . . like the autumn leaves. Until Jesus returns, there will be seasons, but each day, each season that passes, we live in the hope of seeing our sons and daughters again, and very soon.
“The Sovereign Lord will destroy death forever! He will wipe away the tears from everyone’s eyes and take away the disgrace his people have suffered throughout the world. The Lord himself has spoken.” Isaiah 25:8 GNT