As the nights get progressively cool and dark and as the leaves begin to brown, fall from their branches, and crunch under our feet, it’s hard not to feel a little melancholy.

Autumn always stirs up strange feelings within me, as glimmers of summer don’t disappear, but slip away moment by moment over the course of a few weeks. It is a slow unsettling, ominous deterioration of the world that is freely ours all summer long.

Mostly, the death of summer is a reminder that time keeps moving, that, as the seasons come and go, so shall we all.

In his book, Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death, Irvin D. Yalom, existential psychiatrist and professor at Stanford University, confronts the void within the realm of not only psychotherapy, but daily life in the 21st century: what it is to face death head on.

Yalom depicts death as something to be feared, faced and embraced.

Talking about, actualizing, and truly facing the inevitability of our own death can be an awakening phenomenon.

While confronting, discussing, or even thinking about death will always prompt feelings of anxiety, such honest evaluation of our own impermanence and common fate as mortals, holds the “potential of vastly enriching life” for those daring enough to do such exploration (Yalom, 2008, p. 53).

One of the greatest treasures I took away from Yalom’s observations is his notion of “rippling.”

Rippling is the idea that that every person’s character or spirit, in some sense, exists endlessly through the impact we have on others through relationship.

Whether intentionally – or even consciously – Yalom suggests everyone puts forth “concentric circles of influence”.

In this notion, we all have the potential to affect others for years, decades, even centuries far after our bodies have left this earth.

At The Refuge Center for Counseling, we do not claim to know answers to the great intricacies of life and death; such mysteries remain far beyond the greatest minds in all of mankind.

However, we will walk with you on your journey through life and loss because nobody, without exception, should ever have to walk that road alone.


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