In mid-April my mum was diagnosed with cancer, including multiple brain tumours, which robbed her of most of her speech and language capacity as well as much right-side motor function. For a while, drug treatment all but neutralised the impact of the tumours restoring nearly all of her lost capabilities and enabling her to live a full and active life. During that time we all made the most of the opportunities we had to be with her. We knew, however, that my mum’s time was limited and that we had been given but a few week’s grace, an Indian Summer in the closing season of her life.
This poem was written to capture a little of the impact of those fleeting weeks.
We have been blessed with an Indian summer,
When the threat of winter’s chill
Is stayed by a brightness and warmth
That lasts beyond this season’s end.
Its extended glow has all but hidden winter’s call.
Energy reinvigorated, plans revisited, life revitalised
Summer has come back for one last shout
To be seized one last time.
We have wrapped ourselves in late adventures.
We have savoured again long familiar journeys.
We have laughed and shared stories and rested
In the company of friends.
And now, suddenly, like the turning of the year
Autumn has come.
And in its grip, capacity and capability fall away noiselessly,
Green leaves now brown in autumn’s low sun.
Through shortening days and lengthening shadows
We hold on to light and life and love.
For we know
Winter is coming.
But we have been blessed
With an Indian summer.