October’s Very Own…

Solstice

The smell of death lingers in the air.

So many different shades cover the Earth.

The breeze whistles through limbs that reach skyward, only to be slumped downward.

The air is crispy, the Earth is warmed by the soft rays of the Sun.

I’m surrounded by broken bones that have fallen from now bare skeletons.

They crunch beneath the soles of my feet.

The wind has stripped the flesh from its frame.

I’m falling.

I have fallen.

Eventually, I’m covered in a cloak of crystals.

Where I shall sleep until the Sun warms me.

When the birds sing again and the smell of the ocean mist dominates my nostrils.

It’s October. I used to look forward to this month. It used to mean that Thanksgiving was right around the corner and of course, all the wonders of Halloween festivity. But not anymore. I hate this month. This entire month is a reminder of just how orphaned I am. It commemorates all of the most devastating losses in my life. The loss of each of my parents. All three of them.

Last year was the first year I was alone for the month of October. I could deal with it when it wasn’t just me. But now that my Grandmother is gone, I have to find all the strength inside me to make it. Fall and winter are my least two favorite seasons and of course October is a fall month. Of course. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, people. I can tell you that for sure. As soon as the temperature drops and that first leaf falls–it’s a wrap for me mentally. I become more easily irritated and my patience is at an all time low. It’s harder to fall asleep, and much harder to get out of bed in the morning and find reasons to live and laugh.

Being alone in October last year was rough. I still don’t really know how I made it. Well, that’s not true. Hope and perseverance kept me alive. Knowing that my each of my parents lived on in my heart kept me moving–keeps me moving.

I’m rambling. Back to why I hate October. First, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My Mother died in 1993–when I was just 2 years old. She was 26. I’m 25–26 in a few months. Every year I’m closer to outliving her and scares the hell out of me. Cancer research and treatments have come a long way since the 90s but I would be lying if I said that I don’t lose sleep over the fact that I am at such a high risk for developing breast cancer–or any cancer for that matter (thanks genetics). I hate the color pink (purple is the best), but every October, I wear pink with pride for my Mom. I wear it not only to honor her, but as a reminder to myself about how important it is to cherish every moment in life–no matter how painful.

When I was 12, my Grandparents decided that we move to Indiana with my Aunt and her family. My Grandfather’s last act of love was buying my Grandmother a house. A house that they never got to spend a night in together. Shortly after we got to Indiana, my Grandmother was admitted to the hospital. My Grandfather followed her within a week. He never came home. He died on October 8th, 2003. The last time I ever got to see him was when he was barely conscious at 6:00 am when the paramedics came to get him. See why I hate October? It gets better–worse, really.

It was just me and my Grandmother (or G-Ma as I prefer to call her). Just the two of us. Us against the world. As a teenager I took for granted all the things she gave up for me and how much she sacrificed. If you’ve been reading my other posts, then you’ll know that now as an adult I appreciate with every fiber of my being the kind of Woman my G-Ma was. The transition to me becoming her caretaker was seamless. She was my best friend. I did everything I could for her. I’m not rich, never have been. But my life is much richer with having known her. She gave me the kind of wealth people die for. She made me rich with unconditional love. I realized none of this until after her death. That old saying “you never miss your water until you well runs dry” is true. I went from phone calls everyday and visits when I had time off from work to complete silence. I was so lost. For months. I mean LOST. The kind of lost where I was mad at the world and mad at myself. The kind of lost where I would just cry and cry and cry. And I’m not even a crier–or I wasn’t until my G-Ma passed away. I was with her on October 25, 2014 when her heart gave out. The doctors say I had gotten there just in time. But I know in my heart that she would have waited for me no matter what. She told me that my whole life. I believed her.

This year is 23 years since my Mom passed, 12 years since my GrandDad, and 2 years without my G-Ma. I hate October. But this year, I know better than to allow myself to fall back into that deep, dark abyss of depression. I am fortunate and blessed. I have 3 Guardian Angels. I carry them with me in my heart everywhere I go. But I still hate October. Logically, these are just dates. But even if I ignore the calendar my body still remembers the changes in the air and the smell of the leaves. All I can do is flame on. After all, I’ve always risen from the ashes–never burned in the flames.

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