Oh Wistful Season


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.

Autumn, Particularly

It’s hard to believe I could miss her more than I do, every. single. day. Then fall comes. It’s autumn, particularly, that embodies her brilliance, her joie de vivre, her way of bursting into a room and charging the energy with color and light.

Kissie embraced and celebrated each season’s idiosyncrasies, but none captivated her, or crystallized her sense of wonder and awe, like fall. She reveled in the midwestern pleasures: the crisp air, a crackling fire, apples and pumpkins, Halloween, and of course, the trees. She’d unabashedly jump into a pile of maple leaves and toss them like confetti.

These are the liminal days when I long for her with a heightened intensity – memories swirl and I can almost hear her voice in the quiet morning air. Maybe that’s why she loved this time so much – these transitory, fluid days do feel like a threshold, a beginning as much as an end. There is a penetrating sense of her presence, and countless reminders of the life and people she loved so much. I miss her more.