October Month in Review

October always has been a month of joy, love, and connections. With losing Nick, it’s also mired with sadness and exhaustion. Over the last 10 years, I have struggled to find some type of balance and way to get through the month.

This year I wanted more and even though I had my usual exhaustion, I think I found it.

There was a definite sense of letting go to hold space for opportunities where I could share hope and healing, not only for myself, but for others. I taught writing and shared hope through my books. I spent a lot of time with my tribe, celebrating our October birthdays, our children’s fantastic feats in volleyball, karate, school, jobs, and wedding plans.

Grace’s senior night at volleyball. They won of course!

We have so many family and friend birthdays in October that I basically celebrated my birthday all month!

Birthday fun with some of my tribe!
And the celebrating continues with more of my tribe.

To get all of these women together in one place is short of miraculous in our crazy lives. But if there is one thing that I know–when we need each other, we are always there. That is what grounds me in October.

The October trio–me and my boys.

We recognize Nick’s birthday differently now, but he is always a part of our October month of celebration. And Stephen turned 21 this year. Even with him, we made plans that worked for him, and it was a huge joy¬† to cook for all his friends and be a part of his world.

Girl time was huge for me this month, and I carved a huge chunk out between gatherings, lunch dates, and traveling to Sarasota with Karen and our husbands. I needed to be someplace where I could be with my sadness and then enjoy a new place.

Lido Beach

I could be with Nick without all the distractions of the month, between teaching, writing, celebrating, weddings, traveling over two other weekends. I didn’t have time to be with him. This trip to Sarasota gave me that space, and Nick gave me signs that he was there.

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October opened up with letting go to bring in the good, and it ended with a vow to keep that space open, even when the darkness threatens to settle in.

November will bring jewels of gratitude and continued writing.

 

Halloween

10 years ago on Halloween, I said my final goodbyes to my oldest son. I remember having my family over on Halloween, and my niece, Samantha, applying white makeup to my other niece, Marisa’s, face. My other nieces and nephews all dressed up. I was numb. Disbelief and denial shook my body.

As I walked down the road, I was surrounded by family who understood my need to trick or treat with my youngest son in memory of his brother. A couple walking next to us saw our lights on and children walking up to our door. The man said that he it was the house where the boy had just died. He couldn’t believe they were celebrating Halloween. Luckily for him, he slightly redeemed himself by adding that everyone deals in their own way.

Yes, we do, and we have for 10 years. We’ll always grieve, but we also celebrate Nick’s life and his brilliant spirit.

When I woke up today on Halloween, something had shifted. Maybe it was the fact that my adorable nephew, Liam, was coming over. Maybe it was the matching Minion goggles Luke and I planned to wear. Maybe I channeled Nick and decided to spend my day spreading humor and making people laugh. I wanted to be myself on our favorite holiday that also ends the tumultuous month of October.

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Nick sent me so many messages this month. Not just to me, but to those who are open to them and pay close attention. He lets us know that he’s around and guides us daily.

Today, I reclaimed my spirit and Nick’s soared with mine. I enjoyed the time with my mom, my nephew and family, and visits from the fantastic community and children in our neighborhood. They brought laughter into my home, and that is the greatest joy.

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I will always long for my son, and every October will threaten to make me fall into despair. But through it all, I hope to rise above it and bring laughter along with hope.

Thank you to everyone who brought our family joy on Halloween.

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