Grief and the falling leaves

 In Article

This time of year when the leaves are falling always reminds me of how our lives change when we lose someone. After one of my own bereavements I went to see a psychotherapist who used the metaphor of my tears being like leaves falling from the autumn trees and that in time they would all be shed. I can still see that image in my mind of leaf like tears dropping from my eyes, from my body, just like a tree until only the bare branches were visible.

When I was at school studying biology we learnt that autumn leaves are not simply blown off trees but are separated from the plants in a highly controlled process where and a layer of cells start to grow between the leaf stalk and the twig holding it. These cells serve to slowly cut the leaf from the plant without leaving an open wound. As the leaves fall, the plant enters dormancy through the winter saving its energy for the great bud burst of spring.

I kept on crying and losing my leaves. In time I began to cry less and less and came to that place of dormancy where I could rest for a while before I reinvented myself as a different person with new leaves and a new growth to make in my springtime.

Since this time I have had several more autumns to go through, many leaves to shed, the dormancy and waiting of winter to pass patiently through, and some new and bright springs that have brought joy and a new form of life.