But now in September


One year ago exactly.

“But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness.  The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head … The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.”

September and the slow death of summer. The nights have become cool and moist. With the windows open, we sleep huddled in our strangely empty bed, an extra blanket there to keep us from the chill. My flowers are starting to die. Nothing obvious, just a slow browning and wilt here and there; but I know. I’ve become linked to them somehow, during this long, strange, mild summer.

Sometimes, I just sit in my yard and look at them – at the bright, nodding heads. Purple coneflowers attracting bees, florid marigolds dragging in the heat, delicate Guara flowers waving with the breeze. These flowers, an expression of my inward pain. Somehow, burying my hands in the dirt has brought some modicum of healing.

I fear that when they die, I might die too. When freezing winter comes blasting in, I will be forced into knowledge again. When January comes, I might simply crumble into ash.

September, 1 year ago. Still hot then. The days long and somnolent, heavy with summer’s ripeness. I know exactly what I was doing. How many can say that?

At this time, I would have been sitting on the couch in our living room, likely watching a sitcom, my son asleep on my chest. I might’ve been worrying about the future. Or, I could have been simply enjoying his warm weight on me, laughing at a show I’ve seen a thousand times before.

Those days are gone now, beyond my ability to grasp. I only have the memories. I only have a small grave, outlined in granite, watched over by Mother Nature.

Fall is my favorite time of year. The feeling of an edge in the air, a biting chill, the long nights with the windows open, and the sound of the wind rustling through the trees. But now… now, fall will always be a time of mourning for me. We had one autumn with our beautiful boy, one blazing ember of a season, and then he was gone.


3 thoughts on “But now in September

  1. Your writing would be heartbreakingly beautiful even if you didn’t write about heartbreak. I joined the Mom’s DVM group a while after you wrote it, but I stumbled across the article that was featured on The Mighty that you wrote about James from November of last year. Like so much of what you write it’s really been sticking with me. Reading this more recent piece, it makes me wonder if looking back at that time must feel like looking on an alien world or a parallel dimension. You remember it, you know what happened, but where you are now, who you are, your emotional reality is so different that it feels separated from the world as it is now.

    But this line from that older piece when your baby was still in your arms is still true –

    “I don’t know if we have a purpose in this world, but if we do, then I believe James’ purpose is to help open hearts — my heart, but also the hearts of all those around him.”

    He has certainly opened mine.


  2. Been thinking of you and sweet James as always. Still nothing earth moving to
    Offer other than this digital hug and prayers for that sun to shine on you more often than not


  3. Bless your beautiful heart, Catherine. It’s pointless to wish for something that cannot be, but it doesn’t stop us, does it? One blazing ember of a season was not enough.


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