This is the beginning of my favorite time of year, this golden-aspen-football-pumpkin season that extends to turkey-morefootball-pie-gratitude season—although gratitude season should be year-round—followed by the Christmas-music-lights-knitting-scarves-gift-giving season.

A photo by Autumn Mott.

Photo credit: Unsplash

It’s also the season of the long slow sweet good-bye as I walked beside Hubby. Just two years ago. (Why does it seem like last month?)

The Byrds released a song in 1965: “To everything, turn, turn, turn; there is a season, turn, turn, turn …”

Long before the Byrds sang this song, an ancient king — Solomon — penned these words, which you’ll find in the book of Ecclesiastes:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die … a time to mourn, and a time to dance … a time to get, and a time to lose … a time to love, and a time to hate.

What season are you in?

A time of death, loss, mourning: Loss of health or a job, financial setbacks, death of a dream, death of a loved one, a broken marriage, a missed opportunity.

A time of birth, of getting, of dancing: The birth or adoption of a child or grandchild, the start of a new career, a promotion, the blossoming of a new love relationship, an unexpected inheritance, dancing at a child’s wedding, a retirement party or a wedding anniversary.

A time to hate: The greed of mankind that has brought so much death and suffering and injustice into the world; that I can hate injustice enough to do my small part to make life better for someone who lives with overwhelming difficulty.

A time to love and appreciate: To notice and love the people in our lives, to determine never to take them for granted; a time to appreciate life itself and all its simple blessings — homemade soup bubbling on the stove, smell of pumpkin scones baking, crunch of autumn leaves, sound of creek tumbling over boulders, lungs that work, sweet air to breathe, V’s of geese honking overhead, fireplace and candles lit against falling snow, breaking trail in snowshoes, taste of Chai tea … actually the list is quite long.

I think maybe what the ancient king was trying to say is that life happens. And if life consists of death and birth, of sorrow and joy, and mourning and dancing, then we shouldn’t be surprised when these things show up in their season.

Here’s the good news for the hard seasons, though, especially for the control freaks among us (my hand is raised): The thing—sometimes the only thing—we can control is how we react to our losses, to a death, to change.

We tend to want things to stay unchanged. Because that’s what’s comfortable. And comfortable is easy, secure, cozy, stress-free, safe. Comfortable is, well … comfortable.

I certainly wanted things to stay the way they were with Hubby and me. We had a good life together. A happy marriage. Shared interests.

We imagined a place in the country where we could provide a respite for cancer survivors and caregivers — a day-long or weekend break to include some getting-outdoors therapy; discussion on ways to manage stress; a cooking class led by a registered dietician, including guests slicing and dicing and breaking bread together; chair massages; drafting thanksgiving lists; the option of a writing workshop or art therapy. And most importantly, opportunity for making connections so people would know they’re not alone in dealing with cancer.

All this in a barn converted into warm and welcoming spaces. (Well, actually the barn part may have been my vision and not necessarily Hubby’s.)


Photo credit: The Owner Builder Network

I assumed the country-respite dream would die along with my husband. Instead, it changed course a bit. Maybe a retreat for widows. We’ll have to see what unfolds.

And until it unfolds, I’m in a good season. Not just my favorite season of the year — autumn — that leads into my other favorite season of the year — winter.

But also a good season of peace and joy, yes, even in widowhood. Of living where I want to live. Of enjoying early retirement and writing full time. Of hiking and knitting and meeting with friends over Chai latte. Of hoping and dreaming and working toward the vision Hubby and I shared.

A friend who lost her husband when her children were young shared something her daughter said when she went off to college:

When dad died it was really horrible and hard. But I like who I became.

This expresses so well how I feel. The pain and sorrow of losing my husband to cancer changed my way of life, which I didn’t want changed. But it also changed me, which happened to be a good thing.

My friend wrote in her email: “That is what I hope for everybody who walks this difficult path.”

This from an unknown author:

Pain can change you, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad change. Take that pain and turn it into wisdom.

Are you in a new season? Is it a change you didn’t want? Can you take that unwanted change/pain/season and turn it into wisdom? Or even a new dream?

P.S. If you found this post thought-provoking or know of someone going through a hard season, please share, tweet or pin!