While reflecting on this time of year, one particular memory stands out to me. It happened on a brisk, autumn evening about twenty-five years ago. Dressed in long-sleeved pajamas, I stood in the kitchen, listening to my parents discuss their decision for my father to take Leo, our Schnauzer, to the vet one last time. After saying good-bye to Leo, Dad carried him out to the car and drove away. About an hour later, with much hope to see Leo again, I scurried back into the kitchen only to see Dad walk in empty-handed. Bursting into tears, my parents comforted and consoled me by talking about Leo and his life and then reading the children’s book The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, which basically describes the changes that happen in life.
Thus, for me, autumn has always served as a season of change. It serves a twofold purpose: a period of reflecting upon what has already happened and a time to prepare for what lies ahead. Anatole France stated, “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
So, what memories of autumn do you have? What changes are you making or preparing to make this season? During this particular year, here in the ICU, I am keenly aware of the preparations we are making for trauma to come here. While this may serve as a time of excitement for some, it may cause anxiety and even grief for others regarding the changes we face in our patient care.