Oh Wistful Season

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Here we are again at your signature time of year, Kissie. The fourth autumn since your death. Your favored season for all its customs, merriments, and breathtaking transitions, and of course, the soulful wonder of it all.

That last October brought so many unexpected gifts — a rare, laugh-filled overnight with brother Joe, a chance to try my hand at homemade Runzas to tempt your waning appetite, and though I didn’t know it then, the last time I would find myself alone with you in your beautiful desert home. Just us, whiling away those three precious, glittering days in Arizona.  We were so contemplative and nostalgic, wistful and compassionate in our remembering. We talked about Midwestern autumns, Halloweens of yore, the people we’d become — somehow, our greatest accomplishment.

Eric reminds me that I miss you year-round, and regularly reference seasonal markers and cultural touchstones spanning fifty years. All true, but fall is different. Family and friends alike can’t help but recall how you came alive when the night air cooled, and your annual jaunts to Omaha to gallivant the boulevards, kicking up mounds of maple leaves with little Peony by your side.  Oh, how I miss your pure, unencumbered exuberance.

Thank you Nana, Mom, and Dad for encouraging us as children to embrace this season’s pageantry, mystery, and connection — with each other and our beloved relatives gone before us. Thank you, Kissie, for showing me how to do it with panache.

For My Father

This poem is dedicated to you, Dad.

It reminds me of the day you died – a day, and a time since, that I have pondered often these 17 years.  A day I’ll continue to recall, along with many other days – significant and seemingly insignificant – that were your gifts to me.

After Years  – by Ted Kooser

Today, from a distance, I saw you
walking away, and without a sound
the glittering face of a glacier
slid into the sea. An ancient oak
fell in the Cumberlands, holding only
a handful of leaves, and an old woman
scattering corn to her chickens looked up
for an instant. At the other side
of the galaxy, a star thirty-five times
the size of our own sun exploded
and vanished, leaving a small green spot
on the astronomer’s retina
as he stood in the great open dome
of my heart with no one to tell.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Dad and Kissie