On This Day

I will confess I am not really one for astrology. I know my birth chart and I follow some astrology meme accounts, but I don’t read my horoscope and I don’t have Costar or Pattern. That being said, the fall - Virgo season - my season - has always felt like a period of renewal and rebirth. September and October, with its back to school energy and fall crispness has always felt rife with possibilities. Yeah, my birthday falls during this time, but so does Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur. It’s a time I associate with re-setting, with going back to Queens and spending time with my family, sleeping in my childhood bedroom and going to synagogue and seeing old family friends and also people whose names I would forget and make my mom remind me of.

But things are different now, obviously. This time last year is when my mom first got really sick. Sick enough that I knew she probably wouldn’t get better, or if she did, our lives would look completely different than they had before. We celebrated my birthday, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur all at her rehab facility, with reserved rooms and food we brought in, making the best of a very bad situation. I still have the grocery list she gave me for our Yom Kippur break fast: The bagels, lox and cream cheese to get from Fairway, the same as we always had. Normally I would argue about whether or not it was time to break fast; last year we all knew it would be predicated around her meds schedule.

Now that it’s been one year since my mom first began to decline, every day feels like a reminder of where I was a year ago: How scary it was to watch my mom go from the hospital to rehab to our apartment back to the hospital back to rehab back to the hospital and then hospice. How our optimism turned into hope that we’d just get some more time together. “

On this day,” I tell myself, “my mom was home, where I thought she’d stay for longer than a week before it was back to the hospital.” Or, “On this day, she stopped having the energy to take phone calls.” We’re programmed to think this way by social media, obviously, constantly reminding us of where we were one, two three years ago and so on, bringing old pictures and memories to the surface as if all of them are happy ones.

Fall is here again, but instead of feeling renewed, I just feel anchored to the past, to the worst few months of my life. I don’t know if that will ever change, but not pretending like anything could be as it was in years past helps, I guess.