When Lisa dies, it will be with the memory of the colors of fall emblazoned across her mind and heart.
After my mother and youngest brother were killed in the car accident, my surviving younger brother and I spent two weeks in the hospital before I was released -- good to go with a cast from ankle to thigh and a dramatic surgical scar down my middle -- and he was moved to a major medical center for the work that would restore his shattered elbow.
Hospital care was very, very different in 1960 from what it is today. Nurses in starched white dresses. No playrooms or child life specialists. I guess our child life specialist was Melinda, the young and beautiful morning shift nurse who tried so hard to create a sense of cheer in our room. (It definitely wasn't Mrs. Starr, the rigidly upright night nurse whom I was afraid to ask for a glass of water.) Visitors were limited to immediate family. I remember that one evening my aunt and uncle brought our cousins to visit; they all waved up at us from the hospital lawn, and we waved back from the window.
And I remember touring down the hall one afternoon in my wheelchair to look out the long corner window at the yellow leaves. I remember that as clearly as if it were yesterday, and so I'm glad Les lied to Lisa about the leaves today.