Autumn Colors is more than a novel. It’s a study of loss, and how people deal with loss.
Loss is universal, regardless of age or life condition.
There’s Kerry, the main character, whose whole life seems to be about losses and how they blind her to the bright spots, the treasures of her life.
There’s Tom, who so dreads the possibility of Kerry leaving him that he cuts off their relationship to avoid that pain.
There’s Charles, who deals with Kerry’s distance and his fading hopes for their life together by first going on automatic – living like everything is normal and fine, while feeding an internal flame of anger that eventually explodes. When he leaves Kerry, she’s stunned – her own distance caused her to miss his very subtle clues.
There are also the less prominent losses – Beth’s sterile existence without the relationship she so desires. And of course, Hilary’s stoic loss of George.
A good cry is cleansing and exhausting and ultimately exhilarating. Autumn Colors is a multi-tissue read.
People deal with loss in their own way. Some people launch crusades in response to losing someone – like against drunk drivers, or war, or an illness that took their loved one. Some try to bury their grief or deny their suffering, which often prevents them from moving on. Some find ways to memorialize a lost loved one. In a sense, that’s what I did with Autumn Colors. While I moved on to marry a wonderful man and have a happy life, I always wanted to create some kind of tribute to the young man I lost so many years ago. That experience of loss provided the seed for this fictional story that grew and evolved around it.
Loss is universal, and it isn’t always about someone dying. It can include the premature loss of childhood innocence – a child tries to keep a household going with an alcoholic parent who can’t manage; children of poverty who grow up in an atmosphere of hopelessness. There’s the child of a parent who’s incapable of showing the child he/she matters. How about the loss of a dream when a talented athlete’s injury sidelines him? Or a house full of memories going up in smoke or washed away in a flood? Divorce is right up in there, too. As is the demise of a career when a long-time employer goes belly-up – double the loss when the company’s demise takes the pension fund with it. There’s loss of health, or a significant disability. The list goes on and on.
How you handle losses can impact both your mental and physical health. How have you dealt with a loss or losses in your life?