Mito Awareness Week—or month—has now passed. October has begun, meaning the weather might actually cool here in the south.
However, as much as I love football and pumpkin spice lattes, October brings mixed emotions for me. My birthday falls right before dates that coincide with memories of first husband’s decline. Since he died after a long battle with a brain stem tumor on a brisk November 3rd, colored leaves stirred emotion for years. Some bitter. Some sweet.
But thankfully, it’s October 3rd, and I hadn’t thought about that until I started typing this morning—which indicates huge progress from years past when simply waking to the infamous month brought tears.
The reminder of healed wounds encourages me today since just last week, people I love faced life issues that dug up my familiar companion, grief. I told a friend, “I’ve grieved an awful lot in my life, but this feels new. We’re facing stuff we never dreamed we would face and I feel upside down all over again.”
How can that be? I should be a pro at grieving by now.
But grief is a funny thing. It comes in all shapes and sizes. In all seasons—hot or cold. When the sun’s shining and when it rains. On the most perfect and utterly awful days.
At this point, I’ve accepted it as a woven pigment in my life’s tapestry that will never fade. It’s not meant to. When knitted together with shades of joy, the drastic hues enrich each other, adding a depth to the story that can be achieved no other way.
What about you?
Living with mitochondrial disease fatigues the soul as well as the body. The constant boundaries and limits seem to mock our lives. When a new symptom appears, the tailspin of concern will spiral us into the abyss of despair if we don’t grab hold of life’s simple pleasures.
The grief is real. Ever present. But walk the grocery store aisles this month and you’ll find all things pumpkin spice.
So, when a friend agreed to tag along to a neurosurgeon’s appointment this afternoon, I asked to meet at a Starbucks. A warm pumpkin spice latte will hit my pallet before we merge onto the highway. Then, after basking in the delicacy, I’ll discuss serious implications once more before signing on to my ninth orthopedic surgery and second lumbar fusion.
Between now and November 12thwhen the surgery is scheduled, I’ll work to minimize concern by picturing a cartoon surgical suite controlled by the hands of God. When I simplify what feels scary, remembering nothing is impossible for God, I enjoy my pumpkin spice lattes more.
I don’t know what’s on your mito plate. But I read FB posts and know the pain is real and constant in many lives. In no way do I mean to minimize that pain.
But so is the sunshine that warms our days and grows plump, orange pumpkins. So, today, as October cranks up, I’ll pray that we all find a way to feel the soothing winds of change on our face and smile just because. Even if for a few seconds. Like the sun peeking out from behind voluminous clouds.
Walk out your grief. But embrace simple pleasures. And one day you’ll awaken to your October with peace.
About the Author: Susan Schreer Davis lives with her husband, their cat named, Eggs, and the challenging effects of mitochondrialdisease. Learn more about Susan, her latest book and many songs at: www.susanschreerdavis.com