Fall is in the air. I can almost smell the new, freshly sharpened pencils and blank notebooks. You know the ones with the line on the left margin? I can feel the brand new text books with stubborn spines holding promise of a new world of words and facts. Even if we’re not returning to school something in our soul tells us so. The falling leaves, the sound of school bells and new shoes all say “hey, what are you going to learn?”
Are you going back to school to try something new or are you going to simply turn over a new leaf?
Either way, soon you’ll have to answer the innocuous question “How was your summer?” The fact is that it just ended and I haven’t quite put it into perspective. It’s barely a distant memory but that doesn’t stop people from asking and assuming your summer was fantastic. Does anyone ever answer with the truth ‘It was terrible.’? No, that would be unacceptable. Not unlike a divorce, people will ask how it’s going but rarely do they want to know the ugly truth of it.
I remember having the worst summer of my life yet I answered the dreaded question with “Great” and a fake smile. No one wants to hear or accept that summer wasn’t so great or it didn’t turn out the way we hoped it would…
Many summers ago I had a miscarriage. The thing was I knew it was going to happen before it started. During a routine ultrasound the technician got very quiet and said he was going to get the Doctor. He returned with a man in a lab coat. After this unfamiliar doctor pushed on my stomach with the wand, I was informed in a clinical manner that “There’s no heartbeat.”
“What?” I said dumbly. I was in shock.
“See?” the Doctor without a name pointed to a speck on the screen, “That’s the heart. It’s not moving.”
Something about the way he explained it like I was daft, stung me. It stung me hard. Tears were coming and I refused to let him see them. Thank goodness the room was dark. Isn’t it the strangest of moments that our pride stands up and says…move along— there’s nothing to see here...He left without a word. When the technician returned I was attempting to get off the exam table wiping away the jelly that had gone cold. He said something sympathetic. As much as I tried, I couldn’t even open my mouth to speak. I stepped out to the children’s waiting area to see my son playing with cars.
It was July 25th. I didn’t begin to bleed until August. When it did finally start, I thought it would never stop. I went to the hospital emergency ward for a D & C after incredible pain began at 3 am.
“It happens all the time.” I was told by well meaning friends. As if my grief was commonplace. After the fifth time of hearing this, I finally said “It doesn’t happen to me all the time. Okay?” Let me hurt! I wanted to say. And I hurt for months.
So, that was my summer several years ago and no matter how I try, I won’t forget. She would be 13 now (I still count the years and think she would be…). The seasons bring back memories or anniversaries of the heart. So, please forgive me if you’ve had a terrible summer and I ask “So, how was your summer?” Just know you don’t have to put on a fake smile here. You can tell me how your summer really was good, bad or indifferent.
This post took a sharp left turn. Maybe the next one will be funny…
A new season is upon us. It’s time to move forward again, with one foot in front of the other, the way we do. Watching the leaves fall, feeling the cool air, hearing the fog horns from the fishing boats, pulling out my sweaters all remind me it’s time to start again. Another season. Put the past behind us, maybe even open a text book or watch our children begin a new school year. We don’t forget but we HEAL. That’s how we turn over a new leaf.
Welcome back to The Great Escape, where we don’t have to fake our smiles. Thanks to my loyal readers for remembering me while I was away.
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