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.

 

A Month of Gratitude

janineandlukewedding

October. It’s a month of oxymorons, contradictions, and irony. The most joyous month of my life for so many reasons, yet the most devastating as well. It’s a month of transition and fun traditions as we welcome in the fall, but those traditions now are hard to handle. It’s a month of beginnings and endings, happiness and tears, hope and disappointment.

For the past 9 years, it’s been a month to just get through where it used to be a month of excitement and family gatherings.

When I teach the different types of journaling, one of the most powerful is journaling to heal. Writing has most certainly saved me from despair and has served as a friend when I couldn’t find my voice, but my hand could hold a pen.

I have been fighting a nasty head cold for five days, and today, my husband, Luke, encouraged me to go for a ride. Not trusting myself on my motorcycle, I rode on the back of his. It was a beautiful fall day. The kind of day that opens the sky to heaven. I held onto the moment and thought how thankful I was to be there with him. To have a husband who knows what I need, even when I don’t.

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I felt a great deal of gratitude for this man, who sometimes seems like an extended part of me. So many times we act as one, and it makes me smile.

So for the month of October, I’m going to share my gratitude journal. It’s not something I have really done, but I have always believed that even in the midst of the most horrid tragedy, there is always hope. There is always that spark of love, light, and possibility.

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Today, Luke is that light for me. He has held me up when I couldn’t fathom going any farther. He pulled me out of the dark when I couldn’t see the way forward. When we lost our son, Nick, 9 years ago to cancer, after weeks of being lost, we decided to start Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation. Luke told me to do what I needed to do. Give this foundation my heart, and he would stand beside me. That is what I did. I had no idea how the foundation would grow and how many people it would help. It has been hard for us doing the work, but nothing powerful ever happened without working hard.

Today I am grateful for Lucas, my husband of 26 years, who ironically is my polar opposite, but balances me perfectly.

Begin your month of gratitude by writing about what you are grateful for today and why. If it is someone in your life, let them know.