The leaf showed up at my feet, not by the wind, not by human hands, but almost by magic. My grandpuppy, Ryleigh, dropped it at my feet. 

Ryleigh is constantly flinging her toys at our feet, so at first I wasn't paying attention. But when I saw what she'd left for me, my stomach did a little jittery thing. After all, it's been eleven years. I wonder if Ryleigh knew? Did she sense the magic of fall? Of family? The connection? 

The leaf is from our Autumn Fantasy maple we planted in October of 2005 in honor of my mom who passed away on October 16 of that year. My mother

lived in Greeley, Colorado, and one week before she passed, I wheeled her around the nursing home despite her not wanting to go. I thought it would do her good to get some fresh air. She didn't say much on the walk, but as we headed back she sighed and said, "This is God's paintbrush at work, Susan. Isn't it lovely?" More concerned for the welfare of Mom, I hadn't really noticed, but when I did, my breath caught. The entire grounds were ablaze with fall colors, mats of gorgeous leaves on the ground, the crisp scent of musty leaves, and the dampness of recent rain. I put my hand to her shoulder, and she placed hers on mine.

No words were needed. My mother was my gift from God, and I'm sure I was hers. And he'd painted a beautiful landscape for us to share one last time. One week later, my mother left to take her place by His side. No more emphysema. No more COPD. No more pain. 

Every spring when the Autumn Fantasy bursts forth with new life, I'm reminded of the promise of tomorrow. And every year when it bursts forth in its brilliant colors, I'm reminded of her.

I love you, Mom--always the angel on my shoulder. 

Until we meet again--
Happy Autumn,


09/25/2016 12:25pm

This post really hit home with me. It was during the waning days of October 1990--an unseasonably sunny day with a warm breeze swirling the leaves around--that my Mom left this earth, taken from us by that scourge known as cancer. Of all the people in this world who didn't deserve to suffer and waste away as she did, my Mom was a gentle and idealistic spirit who saw good in everyone. I know she would've been so proud to see "Child of Privilege" on the online bookshelves. But at that point in time, my novel was still a seed germinating somewhere deep in my imagination.
Despite the melancholy nature of the season--and the connection with a heartbreaking loss--Autumn is still my favorite time of the year. It foretells a sense of quiet and peace, of nature finally slowing down to catch its breath, before the deep slumber of winter. Keep those memories of your Mom close to you and visit them often. That way, she'll always be there for you.
Great article, Susan. Well done!


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