Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's That Time of Year Again

What I miss most is autumn. Living in a desert there is little chance to witness the change of seasons. I have habitually gone through depression as the fall season takes hold and I have wondered what it is about this time of year that causes me to go into a funk; is it the memory of the autumns of my childhood, the crisp, cold air, the array of colors as the leaves change or is it the significance of the month of October, the month my parents died and was marked my entire childhood by trips to a cemetery to pay homage to a mom I never knew? It might be a combination of both these things; all I know is that my favorite time of year is one I have not been able to enjoy for many seasons now.

As a child I remember how September was a month I waited for with great anticipation. Rather than January, September was, for me, the start of a new year. My birthday happens in that month and what child doesn’t gleefully await her day? My birthday happens to be on the first day of fall, so it is no wonder I associate such a special day with my favorite season. The new school year starts and although many aspects of school life were difficult for me; I wasn’t the brightest kid and I got into trouble all the time for talking too much - I associate the first day of school with a sense of excitement and promise. And my childhood activities were filled with hours and hours outdoors, where I could breathe in that wonderful air surrounded by a deep blue, cloud scattered sky cut with autumn leaves changing from green to orange, red, and yellow.

Despite some pretty awful experiences (which I have yet the courage to write about), I had a pretty awesome childhood that brings me great joy to remember. That, I believe, is why fall in a dry, arid, white world is so hard for me to go through.

You would think if I just went and visited a place where the seasons change that it would satisfy me, but it just makes the depression deeper. Last October I was in Oregon and the rural countryside looked much like my childhood home with fields of pumpkins ready to be picked and apples and cider sold at roadside stands.

The trip didn’t ease my longing, it just made it worse. I came home wanting so much to be there and not here. My poor husband, who is not ready to make the plunge just yet as our life is pretty secure here, watched helplessly as I cried about wanting to move. He is so sweet; he said to me, “I’ll get us there, don’t worry. I can’t have you crying.” Knowing he cares that much about my happiness makes the wait a little easier.

So how much of my depression is associated with the month of October and the loss of my parents? Perhaps on a subconscious level there is a lot I can attribute to it; but it wasn’t until I was well into adulthood, after having researched my family story, did I begin the process of grieving. Prior to that it was just a story to me; I felt no emotional attachment, much less sadness because I never felt the loss, not until much later. I guess it stands to reason now that I do know the significance of the month that its appearance once a year has to have some bearing on my association of the time of year and my overall sadness.

Whatever it is I am bracing for a month of trying to keep my head afloat and my spirits high.

I am taking a quick trip to New York in a couple of weeks; I haven’t been there in three years and I miss it. Visiting my hometown, the people and the memories especially at this time of year puts a strain on that optimism I have to keep strong, but acknowledgement goes a long way in understanding the cause so I have a jump on keeping the depression at bay. At least I will be able to close my eyes, take a deep breath of the magnificent air and pretend, just for a moment that I am once again that child with no other care in the world than to anticipate what comes next in my “new year.”

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