Life and Death Metaphors

I received an email a while back from a friend who was offering some heartfelt support. He recalled a time on a blustery midwest fall day shortly after he had lost his father to cancer. My friend was staring out the front window watching the wind spinning the last leaf on his maple tree. The leaf was finally blown loose and drifted off in the wind. He compared this scene to his father hanging on to life while the storm of cancer buffeted his world. He hung on as long as he could, but eventually gave in.

I thought long about his metaphor and projected it onto Lynn’s finally five months. Lynn hung on while the melanoma progressed, much like the leaf on a tree in the fall winds. The wind blows and the cold follows, until the leaf is no longer part of the living tree. But on that living tree, there is a small scar where the leaf had been. A wound to mark the place of the leaf that had fallen. That scar remains through the harsh winter, and heals itself just enough, so that in the spring, new life will bud from it. A new leaf will grow, a different leaf, but still attached to the living tree.

Lynn has physically fallen from my life and left a scar. But from that wound, a new life will grow, a new relationship with Lynn will form. And that relationship will be different than we had before, but it will be the beginning of our next season together. I can’t wait for spring.


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