Autumn Corridors, by Larry G. Straub, is a novel written after the deaths of two family members. Although each actual passing was difficult, lessons could be learned from each. To illustrate his points, the author uses the seasons as a guide.
Spring, for example, is a time of renewal. It takes a newborn out of the womb and into the world. Childhood is when experiences are still fresh, and anything is possible. Days are filled with learning, whether from a classroom or a walk around the block.
Summer is when growth occurs. Those who have been in school most of their lives and under the same roof as parents head off to college. An expectation exists that young adults will take responsibility for their actions, even if a decision takes one down the wrong path for a time. Some might fall in love and get married, while others start the process of trying to have children.
Autumn is a balancing act, of raising a family and looking towards the future of empty nests. This might be called the sandwich years, if one is between an elderly parent and young children to tend. A walk down these corridors may help one to figure out priorities.
Winter, the last and final path, has a destination common to all. It is the road to death, even if adulthood never comes or one lives a long life indeed.
When his mother passed away, Straub was a teenager. He knew she had been ill for a long time. However, he also refused to give up hope or attempt to look reality in the eye. A priest at the hospital pulled him aside to force him to admit the awful truth. Mom would soon leave the trappings of this earth, never to return. Everyone else needed to use their memories in order to keep her alive.
It took some doing, but eventually Straub recovered from his grief. He could remember the parts of his mother which were good, and focus much less on those which caused him pain. Soon, though, he and his family would be experiencing another blow. They needed to hang onto their faith as well as each other in order to walk through the darkest valleys.
After reading this book, I came away with a little better understanding of what it means to go through the corridors of life. While Straub knows what his family went through, he is also careful to consider himself an amateur when it comes to the pain of others. Part of the reason he wrote this book was to try and help those who are hurting to feel better, if only for a brief period.