October is my month. The month I’ve always loved because it is so beautiful here. The sky is so crisp and blue, the weather cools, it is the month my little boy came into our lives and well, it has always felt like good things are coming. It is also the month I dread. The month we knew Dave was sick for sure, the month we found out that time was going be our enemy, the month we knew he would being dying much, much sooner than we expected. In my post-Dave world, October is also the month we gather to remember him. Every year, people still come and golf with us in memory of him. Nine years later, I am always so surprised that we are able to do it again, but I know down to my bones that they will still keep coming because of who he was and what a good friend he was to them.
It is a remarkable thing.
I am glad today is the end of October is near though. I will be glad to step into another November, knowing I put another October behind me. This October started out and was going pretty well, but my overwhelmed button was pushed last week and has left me reeling, reflecting and possibly resetting my goals again. I really thought to myself…it’s ok…it’s not too bad this year…I didn’t hit any low feelings. I didn’t get stuck in the missing him. I didn’t get overwhelmed by the “another year on my own.”
Last week, we started transitioning again. After-school coaching was starting for me and I wasn’t quite sure how everything was going to line up for us. I wasn’t sure that all the pieces were going to fall into place. I am always apprehensive until the routine re-aligns. I always stress out about how it will all fit. I need the extra income though. I am fortunate to have something I love to do, so my stress and mommy guilt are balanced with hope that finances will be relieved and the fun I have working with the girls.
When I came home on Monday, one of my hounds wasn’t looking himself. His eyes were still twinkly as always, but he didn’t look well. It was already near six and I had to get to my big boy to pick him up…so, my sweet pup had to wait. Well, we got home and the evening fell apart quickly and my sweet dog died. He was old, but not that old and it was unexpected. It knocked the wind out of me. He was the last dog that Dave and I had together…he was the “good one”…well behaved, so sweet, and of course held so many lovely memories in his presence. My heart was broken as I watched him and felt so helpless. I know it’s not the same, but I was immediately brought back to watching Dave die…feeling so helpless…knowing what was going to happen, wanting to stop it, and being so, so helpless.
With the help of all the sweet people around me, I made it through the week. The hug from my neighbor when I went over for help after my pup died. My brother, his family and my mom who came right over and helped me with my boys and the logistics of a big, dead dog in the house, and the people who patiently listened to me this week as I told my story…
I made it through the week. Then yesterday, we gathered to remember Dave. We golfed. We had a great time. We reminisced. Dave’s friends embrace my boys, share stories about him and it is amazing. All these years later, they come out and continue to help us heal. One of Dave’s friends, a lovely man he worked with, was widowed several years after me. I only see him once a year, but we have the widowed kinship. We caught up as we do each year. When he left the lunch, he hugged me and said, “it’s time…find someone to take care of you.” Now he didn’t say this in a chauvinist way meaning that I can’t take care of things, but in the loving, widowed way…his only intent was that I find joy again. He knows the exhaustion. He knows the sorrow. He knows the loneliness. He knows the healing, the hope, and the surviving too.
It got me thinking even more. I really don’t even think of having someone to take care of me anymore. It is my daily assumption that this is my life and it is my responsibility to take care of everything myself. All my being goes into making our lives work. All my energy goes into making sure my boys are ok and hopefully happy, healthy and well. I even take care of myself more now…but someone to take care of me just seems like memory…not a possibility for the future.
So, as I sit here on this lovely, October morning, I feel a bit lost again. My heart is sad again, but I know that with the sadness, with the lost, I will find something more. I know that what is the most bittersweet about this time of year is the hope it brings to me despite the pain that always lingers. I know those memories of hearing my husband was going to die only days after we had our sweet baby always propels me to love more and be more. As my heart heals, sometimes it is necessary to feel its brokenness again. It reminds me that there is much more to this unexpected life than just surviving it.