Frank Sinatra released the album, “September of my years” in 1965. I was 17, and he was turning 50 that December. The album, still in my possession, included the Grammy Award winning “It Was a Very Good Year” and other songs pensively recalling and celebrating a half century of living.
“September can be an attitude or an age or a wistful reality. He sings with perspective… He remembers, and graces his memory with a poet’s vision,” the back of the album cover states. If I read those words previously in the 49 years I’ve owned the album, I don’t remember. A certain acquiring of wisdom is necessary to appreciate such sentiments. I’m well past 50, how young that age sounds now although it didn’t in 1965, and I savor the message.
“One day you turn around and it’s summer, next day you turn around and it’s fall, and the springs and the winters of a lifetime, whatever happened to them all?” Marveling at the speed of years, I question if I spent them wisely, and if I made a difference in the lives of those with whom I’ve shared moments and memories. A close friend recently was diagnosed with a terminal illness. We’ve enjoyed many special occasions together and my heart feels splintered to consider her absence. The situation reminds us that time is limited. Age is not the defining factor.
“I’m sighing softly as I near September, the warm September of my years.” If age 50 was the September, I’m surely well into fall. My parents both died in October and the season is emotionally charged. Some moments are filled with laughter and warm memories, and others tinged with sadness. We spoke openly in our family about when our parents would no longer be with us, but the void remains. Sometimes I miss them more the older I am.
This summer my two oldest grandsons, and later two oldest granddaughters came to spend a few days. Two by two works more peacefully than all four at once. One child made a humorous comment that so reminded me of my mother. None of my seven grandchildren or my three children’s spouses had the opportunity to know my parents. I always find that sad, but realize loss is an inherent part of life. Making my parents known to them through photos and stories is very rewarding for me, and I’m grateful to have such pleasant details to share.
At my home is a small two-sided dry erase board which the grandchildren hang on doors throughout the house depending on the game they’re playing. When the two girls left, it was hanging on the guestroom door with “Closed” written on it. I miss them, and that closed sign seems to poignantly announce summer’s conclusion.
“Days grow short when you reach September.” They do, literally and figuratively. So I’ll try my best to put aside any melancholy that doesn’t inspire or motivate, give thanks for what is, and promise to try living with grace and gratitude through times yet to come.
Heartfelt thanks to Mr. Sinatra for the musical inspiration. Computers make it possible to hear the tunes minus a record player, and life’s lessons remind us to savor the lyrics. May all the years be very good, just like the music.