The Last One

This leaf is the very last one on this tree in front of our house. I looked all around the tree to make sure and it was. It makes you wonder why this particular leaf refuses to let go. It’s hanging on, stronger than all the other leaves that dropped just because or when the wind whipped through the tree.

In a lot of ways, I feel like this leaf. Even when everything feels hopeless and you know the inevitable is coming, I have still clung to something like this last leaf, refusing to accept that winter is just about here. I knew for years that my first marriage was going to end, but I just didn’t see how I could do it sooner. There were so many things to be worried about and the kids were so small. I wasn’t sure I could survive being alone completely when they weren’t with me.

I clung to Air Force like this too, afraid that I couldn’t survive without it and fighting my way to retirement, while losing my own sanity in the process. I don’t think I could’ve stopped myself from getting PTSD by getting out sooner, but it might not have been as bad and I definitely could’ve gotten it treated sooner.

It’s the same way I clung to my parents, even when they hurt me constantly. They belittled me and made me feel like a child. They were always mad at something I’d done, but I would have no idea what I actually did wrong. They assumed I meant things I did not mean at all, and I assumed I made them mad with things that were never the problem. I couldn’t speak up and tell them how I felt without blowing up at them.

I love you, Last Leaf, and the way that you refuse to let go and give up. The way you are the only bit of color on this tree now. I love your tenacity and the strength you are showing the world. Just a month ago, you were surrounded by a bunch of your friends and you were just an insignificant burst of red amongst all the red. And before that, you were a flash of green in a huge sea of green.

But now you stand alone, your strength and perseverance showing everyone that you aren’t just one of many red or green leaves. When the crowd fell, you didn’t go with them. You will fall one day soon and it will make me sad. But I will never forget you and the way you held on to the very last minute.

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