Calm Before the Storm
Fall has always been my favorite season, October the best month of all.
There are so many things I love about this time of year. A patchwork quilt against a baby blue sky, as the trees change and transform. Crisp, cool weather that beckons me outdoors. Caramel apples, yellow mums, and the first pot of soup make me smile. Each day is filled with hope and anticipation of the next seasonal celebration to come. Of scarecrows and peanut butter kisses wrapped in orange and black. Of bonfires and hayrides. Of happy pumpkins, all shapes and sizes. Of piles of leaves, awaiting the jump. Spooky movies and hot apple cider, reasons to snuggle on the couch. Of festivals and family.
But October is just 31 days of beautiful distractions from the month that follows. October is just the calm before the storm.
November. A month that conjures up the deepest, darkest pains.
November, a month I loved so much before, will never be the same. November, once the start of the holiday season for us, is now the beginning of reliving the loss of our oldest son all over again.
Holidays and family just go together but our family is forever changed. Thanksgiving, which used to be my favorite holiday, is now a reminder of what we lost. It is a heavy time of year for us, when most everyone is filled with the joy of the season. November is hard and sad and will always be filled with painful memories, despite the healing time brings.
So, for October, I hold on to the portions of fall I enjoy and love.
I take a little more excitement in a tree fully bloomed in vibrant color than most. I savor that smooth, sweet, yet spicy bite of pumpkin pie. My fingers linger over the bumps on a gourd. I revel in the crunch my feet make walking across the lawn. I let the first sweatshirt of the season comfort me, as I ease it over burdened shoulders. I breathe in the peace that comes with a foggy morning, speckled sun shining through autumn hues.
I soak up the hugs and hellos from Austin that he seems to send more of this time of year. The extra appearances of yellow butterflies, even though their season has come to an end. How the number #23 seems to find its way to us at just the right moments. I cling to treasured memories with him, holding them tight through the coming month.
I keep Austin’s loving spirit close to me and remind myself of the gift we were given with him, short as it was. And although a part of me will always be pulled to the time when he was here, I work very hard to live in the moment and enjoy every single second of now.