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Winter is coming

Most people hate winter, it's cold and gloomy and unless we have snow it isn't very visually appealing.

I enjoy the turning of the seasons. We can't truly appreciate each season without the difference of each month and year of our lives without the uniqueness of seasons.

Autumn sweeps clean and clears all the trees and bushes with florid colour

Winter brings a new landscape, we can see through hedgerows to the landscape beyond, we can see the lace of the cluster of branches and twigs in the trees standing against the sky. Nothing looks more beautiful on a sunny winter day.

Winter has been used to describe old age and I understand the reference, spring is childhood relating to new life and learning, full of opportunities. Summer is happy, when we leave home, develop careers and have family of our own. Autumn is the happiness of retirement, lots of reflection on life, caring for grandchildren and having lovely holidays and playing bowls.

Is winter therefore the sparsity of dementia, dying of cancer or living following stroke, life's inevitable decline into sadness and death with nothing to brighten the horizon but death itself? That feels so rude and patronising

Winter is not about death

Over winter a lot happens, plants take much needed rest, the old is discarded and used to regenerate the new. The old provides shelter, food and safety for new growth and animals. The cold helps kill off bugs and virus that we do not want.

Winter can be cold and damp. It is a time to reflect and renew. It can be long and arduous. But it can have glimpses of absolute beauty when snow falls.

I wonder if we should focus less on the deterioration in the winter of our lives and focus on the pleasures. Those of us who care for our loved ones treasure these moments. The pleasure of watching your parent and child heads together sharing a game or photo album together. The pleasure of sitting reminiscing and the pleasure of still being able to ask a parent for validation over a difficult decision to be made.

With Dad we finally lost the ability to ask his opinion and reminiscence as he could not hear what was being said. Conversation was limited to whatever he initiated.

I recall the delights of his smile whenever I saw him and the small things of a hug or his reaching to touch my face on occasion and sharing feeding with him. We (snuck) whisky into hospital in his last days to give him a tot and he responded with a wink and a gleeful grin at the mischief!

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