I love October. I am a “fall” kind of gal. Give me pumpkins, leaves falling, boots, jeans, hoodies, heck, give me pumpkin spice lattes.
October for me is a time of loss as well. Some of my favorite people ever left during October. I do find comfort in knowing that they are in heaven, looking down on me, my kids, and my family.
But I miss them something fierce.
October brings memories that are sometimes sad, memories that I hold to and keep in my heart.
In our home, we have anniversary dates. These are not always the kind of anniversaries you want to remember…for Sam, they are dates that the first soldier was lost from their unit, the first IED, the last IED, a really bad mission, retirement date, etc. Some days are easy, but these anniversary days are hard.
In our home we have dates that stick out in memory because we know we’ve lost a loved one. We know there’s days we long to have those we have lost with us. We hold onto the hope that we will see them again. Heaven, Vallhalla, we know they are with us.
Last night we participated in the “black-out cancer” volleyball game at our high school. We don’t have a volleyball player in our house, but one of our daughter’s best friends wore my dad’s name on the back of her jersey. She wanted to honor him for his fight with cancer.
When I was told about that, I cried.
I’m emotional, if you don’t know that about me yet…and even happy memories, good times can bring tears to my eyes.
Through tears I told our daughter that I was speechless. How thoughtful.
Last night was the big game.
I have to be honest, my volleyball knowledge is not what I thought it was…but, it was a real honor and privelige to be at the game.
We spotted our second daughter in her black jeresy with her number and the name White above her number on the back.
I had goosebumps.
I tried to get a photo of her with her back to us so we could see the jeresey and I could remember this night. Maybe I needed a mental picture, but there was something about getting the right shot, the right angle, just to see the name.
But in our family we have lost many to cancer. As the players lined up with the person they were playing for (or a family member), I could not help but think about three of my favorite people that are no longer with us.
Three people who had a major impact on my life.
Three people that I love fiercely and miss a great deal.
Three people who were kind, caring, and simiply some of the best humans I have ever known.
I tried to keep the tears in, but seeing my dad step forward with Ally brought them to my eyes.
I miss my grandpa Jack. He lost his battle with cancer when I was a freshman in high school. I was “monkeypoo” to him, and the baby (at the time) of the family. He would draw pictures or make up songs for me. We ate ice cream together and we watched Lawrence Welk together. I think I semi-learned how to dance because of that. He was one of my best friends.
I miss my aunt Debbie. She lost her battle with cancer when Kirsten was tiny. I remember being thrilled that she was able to meet her and be around her. She was my favorite librarian ever, and I am almost positive she is the reason that I love books just as much as I love a good book fair. She was kind and she was a beautiful person.
I miss my grandma Wilma. If you knew her, or if you went to visit her, you know she loved sweet tea. She could give McDonald’s a run for their money on the sweetness. As she began to get sick and drive less, one of my great joys was being a caregiver (I did not know that was what I was doing at the time). I would run errands for her, take her out for pizza after chemo, and go visit with Kirsten (who again was so small). I miss her laugh and her elbowing me (when something was funny, or when she was trying to get my attention). She was one of a kind.
October reminds me of fall, but sometimes it reminds me of loss. I guess you could say that October is my anniversary month, but in a different way. Being at the volleyball game last night, I was not only reminded of our family members we lost, but also reminded of friends and family who have survived bouts with cancer, and of course, those who have lost. So many names came to my mind, and I thought to myself “how is that possible?”
While I am glad that I live in a world where there are Octobers, I hope for the day that we live in a world when there is no more cancer.
Until then, I am glad there are games, fundraisers, events, and organizations that allow those of us who have lost loved ones to cancer or have loved ones still with us to be remembered. What a lovely memory, and what a joy to see those faces light up, hearing their name, seeing their name on a jersey.