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Although autumn in Egypt is not as colorful as in other cooler climates, yet it is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. Suddenly the sky is a lighter blue with fleeting, fleecy white clouds, the sun, peeping through those clouds is less fierce but bright and clear, the air has a touch of sharpness and the breeze is a bit more energetic. The rustling of the leaves when tickled by the wind vies with the chirping of the birds trying to nest in the trees. The flapping of the awning in the breeze is keeping the tempo of the whole natural orchestra which is playing an ode to the dying summer and the opening notes of the fledgling winter.

Seven months minus two days since I lost my Mom, and still the firsts of anything are painful. Ever since the weather started to change I have been fighting this feeling of grief trying to raise its painful head again. Trying very hard to control grief’s devastating effect has worked for some time, but at others it is as though I had done absolutely nothing for the past seven months.

Though I love the light and shadow of a slightly overcast sky, yet this type of weather seems to depress me now. I have been fighting the feeling for a few days but the more I do the stronger it becomes, so I thought I would embrace it and take it on with all its violence, its pain, its devastation. I shall let it wash through me, drown me in my grief again, pull me down to the bottom of hell before I am able to shed it all and rise again and go forward.

Working on turning my articles into a cohesive entity and into a chronology of events that can be presented as a book has taken up a great deal of my time and energy. But I have now reached the point where I was writing about my Mom’s last few weeks and find that I still do not have the courage to tackle that part. It is like a sword held above my head. I know I will have to read through those chapters at least once to ensure the continuity, but I cannot face going through those weeks again. I have been putting this task off for weeks now and still don’t know if I can do it yet. I might take the coward’s way out and just lump them all together as they are and hope they make sense.

My houseboy is going off for at least ten days of vacation and traveling to his hometown Aswan, so I shall be without domestic help in the house. With my terrible trio, plus the other two, then the five cats, I have my work cut out for me. I am so looking forward to it. My cure will be very strenuous physical exercise. I shall actually clean the house and that should either kill or cure me. I shall think of it as my ten days at a health spa for losing weight, as well as occupational therapy.

Though T.S. Elliott was talking about April when he described it as “the cruelest month of the year” yet to me, October is. It carries with it many very painful memories and its natural beauty becomes even more acute when contrasted to the internal anguish associated with these memories. Added to those are now the feelings of loss and grief for my Mom that keep rearing their heads every so often and when least expected. So October to me is the cruelest month of the year.

I am still on the edge of that abyss; I have not fallen in yet, and am fighting for the much-needed strength to regain my balance and the ability to step back. I shall be ruthless in using everything in my power to overcome those negative feelings, even though my pursuit of whatever helps might have a tinge of hysteria to it. And again the timing is difficult. It is a time of celebrating an important religious

Feast where family gatherings and certain rituals are observed, where a great deal of traveling is done for fun or to unite families in different towns.

So again it is a time when most of my friends and family will be with their own and this reinforces my original realization that I have only me to depend on. Only I can pick myself up and help myself overcome those feelings. This realization, strangely enough, instead of increasing my depression gives me a push in the right direction. Taking a leaf out of Obama’s book “Yes I can”. The fact that only I can help me encourages me to do so, to look into myself and try to find the strength that will pull me through. This type of situation forces me to look very deeply inside of me and to plumb the depths of my inner reserves. It will show me exactly how much strength is there, how far it would take me and how well I can use it for a better quality of life.

I have come this far, and I think I have done pretty well up till now. The fact that I do have some lapses seems to be the norm, more than anything else. So I shall be patient with myself, will be tough with myself, will pamper myself and give myself leeway for some relapses, but I shall survive. No, not only survive, I shall overcome and go farther than that, I shall glorify life, I shall savor it to the last drop and not waste a minute of it. Even my negative feelings will be used for a better future, I shall embrace all the negativity, let it wash through me and finally, like a phoenix, rise from the ashes.

Autumn is beautiful, and cruel, and glorious. Autumn is a dirge for summer and a birth for winter. Autumn is the change that is painful and glorious all in one breath, that time of the year that kills you with its beauty and instills new life in you with its sadness, the end of summer and the beginning of winter, another change in a world that is never still.

1 Oct. 2014