With the onset of fall, I typically find myself more reflective than usual.
Particularly in October. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it’s a month of personally significant events that have taken place in my life, including the passing of my father on Oct. 19, 1996, and also it is my late mom’s birthday on Oct. 21. We lost her in late January of 2020.
Both of these dates are powerful reminders of relationships that influenced me far more than I will likely ever know.
Add to this the Thanksgiving holiday, which brings back happy memories of family gatherings, and it’s all the more a month of remembering.
I find it fascinating the thoughts and images that come to mind — both happy and sad. Even though my father, Herb Weber, has been gone for so many years, I clearly remember so many things about him. His voice, his expressions, his laugh, his humour, and his incredible way with people. My dad was a very friendly man, a very polite man. During a post-retirement part-time position in the Sears paint department in Red Deer, he received so many courtesy awards, we just lost count.
When I would stop by for a visit at the mall, he was all smiles and full of energy and enthusiasm — he absolutely loved helping people. He was in his ‘element.’
So Oct. 19 brings plenty of images to mind — a happy, secure childhood, and the steadying presence of Dad through my formative years. It also brings images of the last days of his life in a Calgary hospital — when life was anything but secure.
Then there was Mom.
As I’ve said in past columns, when you are close to your mother, it’s really a relationship like no other. I mean, who else asks you — as a grown adult — if your coat is warm enough when it’s chilly outside or what you had for supper? A mom is concerned with virtually every facet of their child’s life and that concern doesn’t end when one’s childhood years are far behind.
After a typical evening visit, mom would often try to find something to give me from her kitchen — maybe a couple of tins of soup or stew; maybe some fruit. I would just chuckle, explaining that while I really appreciated her generosity, I was doing fine.
She would smile, too, but there was no question of her sincerity.
So as time passes, I find myself growing more grateful for my parents.
I think about the family holidays we had, and the special occasions each year — like Christmas in particular — that were made even more memorable because of my parents’ care and attention.
So yes, October is a month of remembering. There are days when I’ll feel a sharp sense of sadness, and wonder why. Then I remember what month it is, and it makes sense.
Memory is a powerful thing and can trigger sudden emotional shifts.
Ultimately, I think allowing these shifts to run their course is a part of healing; of ‘absorbing’ loss and being changed by it. In time, the jagged edges of grief soften.
But October will always be an especially poignant month for me.
Sometimes our minds may forget about how dates on the calendar might affect us, but I don’t think our hearts ever really do.