Well, I suppose I’ve stared at this blank page long enough.
It’s halfway over by now, but — around here — October is the gift that keeps on giving. And by “gift” I actually mean “turbulent whirlwind of emotions”. October ain’t over till it’s over.
A few weeks ago, I tried to articulate it to a friend. She asked a very general but sincere, “how are you?” and I started rambling about it being October and no matter how hard I try to prepare myself for it – October just knocks me down. I reminded her of the notable dates during this crazy month, and how they’re all piled up on each other and so concentrated in these poor little 31 days of October that there’s no way around it. October. Ugh.
And with the mark of a wise and true friend, she listened to my rambling. Paused. Then made some sense out of it for me. She suggested my heart and mind may be approaching this time of year as a season, of sorts. That perhaps subconsciously I am entering this season of October — and everything that comes with it — and I should consider letting this “changing of the seasons” wash over me a bit, instead of trying to fight back. Because, my season of October will continue to come. Every year. Fighting it is no use. She suggested that perhaps in some way my soul NEEDS this season each year, to rest, reflect, hibernate a little, then reemerge. Recharged.
October 2007 was easily the most defining and significant month of my life. I was turning 25 that year and – to stay on trend – considered having a quarter-life crisis. But, it wasn’t for me. I had a job I loved in a town I loved and had just celebrated my first year of marriage to a boy I loved.
That October started out on the highest of high notes. October 1st I took a test and found out I would be a Mama. I was thrilled and terrified and anxious and my mind raced with everything this news would mean — for then, and for forever.
But just two weeks later, the Octobercoaster started to free fall. October 14, 2007 my brother Tom was killed in Iraq. My big brother. Would-be goofy, doting uncle to my baby. Gone.
The days and weeks we all spent together during that time of memorials, funeral, burial — my heart was a mess. Just a year into our marriage, Jeff and I were already making good on those “for better or worse” vows. My pregnancy was such fresh news we hadn’t even told our families. Everything was upside down. I was unexpectedly home — for the funeral — on my 25th birthday and on this milestone of sorts I remember just swimming in my own numbness.
First weeks of pregnancy, death of my big brother (also his birthday, his fiance’s birthday, and the day that would have later been their wedding), my birthday, Jeff’s birthday. October…
It’s been six years since that first October, but I’m not any better at it. September comes to a close and I think I’ve got it handled. This year, I’ve got this. But I’m wrong. Every time.
Someday, I will embrace this season rather than grit my teeth and endure it.
Someday, I will learn to write even if it doesn’t make sense rather than staring at blank pages with a head full of life desperate to get out in words.
Someday, I will use this season of mental hibernation as a time to rest. Really rest.
For the past several weeks, I’ve listened to the same song on repeat as I drive to work in the mornings. It’s become my October anthem.
You keep your heart above your head and your eyes wide open
So this world can’t find a way to leave you cold
And know you’re not the only ship out on the ocean
Save your strength for things that you can change
Forgive the ones you can’t
You gotta let it go
— Let It Go, Zac Brown Band