It was an unusually cold and Wintery morning December 19th 2007. That’s the day we laid my Joey to eternal rest. I actually could see my breath in front of me. As I walked out on to the front porch I looked around me at all of the deadness. Everything looked blah, the grass was brown, no birds sang, the trees were all but bare and even they looked sad. I had connected this season to his passing and began to loathe it. For many years a dread came over me when Winter came around. It made me live those initial moments all over again, every single year. Those wretched moments……….
The day I got the phone call; the day that brought me down to the floor and on the floor is where I stayed for days after. I felt it so hard to get up, to function, to accept and acknowledge he was gone. Winter…….the season that took my son, claimed him as it’s own, the season I couldn’t change. Oh how I hated this time of year.
Then on one particular Winter morning as I walked down my driveway to get to the mailbox I noticed something you don’t see very often in Florida. It was a single, beautiful, red leaf, laying there at the tip of my shoes begging to be picked up. I obliged. As I admired it I looked around for any others within eye sight. Nope, not one. I thought it odd because it’s very rare that I encountered any sort of leaf change in North Florida.
Friends, for whatever reason right then and there I accepted it as a sign from my boy. Then everything began to change. From the day I assigned that red leaf to Joey, Winter slowly became ok again. I could finally let go of the wicked feelings towards it. I knew he was here. I knew he was with me. I could hear the birds sing again. I could find beauty in Winter, it’s all around us! Perhaps it was always was.
I find it ironic that I now live where the red leaves are so overly abundant at the end of Fall/beginning of Winter (E Tennessee). I now seek them in the summer, the unseasonal time to be spotted. In doing so, it further solidifies that they are signs from Joey. I simply cannot believe we are to be left here with nothing. So it goes, I will continue to seek out those beautiful red leaves until God’s promise is realized and I see my son again.