There was a time in my life when October was my favorite month. There were several reasons for it. First, the sky. It seems to this amateur meteorologist, who would not know a high front from a low one, that October has the prettiest blue sky of any month (except for tropical storms and hurricanes, who also like the 10th month). I lived in Ft. Worth, TX years ago in the middle 70s. With the flat-lands and small trees in Texas, you can see lots of sky. I would swear to you that one particular October, I did not see one cloud. It was the bluest and biggest sky I had ever seen.
I fell in love with October. I also love October because the Fall Classic, otherwise known as the World Series, comes around this month. Interest is especially high because the Braves are good again. It’s also the best month for golf and football. Throw in Halloween, because I love to scare the daylights out of neighborhood kids, and October was my, hands down, favorite month.
Then things started happening in October that I had no control over. Bad stuff started happening in October. My dad died in ’03 on October 4. Then in ’06, my older brother suffered a heart attack on October 20 that would take his life two weeks later. I started hating October.
Then in October, 2016, the unthinkable happened. My wife of 28 years, Sheri, died on Halloween, October 31. Dad-gum October again! I’m trying, really trying to love October.
My grief will not end on October 31, 2018, but the turning of the calendar to November will be a welcome sight.
Friends ask how I am doing, now almost two years in. My experience has taught me that a better question is “How are you doing today?” Some days are good, really good, with joy, laughter, and hope. Some are not. Some days, especially October days, I relive the entire experience.
Sheri made me promise, because she did not like artificial flowers, never to put them on her grave. So, on my visits to the cemetery, I take real flowers.
Artificial vs. real is a good way to look at grief. Some try to hide their grief, not showing any outward emotion or expressing any weakness. I guess we all do some of that. Being as real as possible is the best route. I tear-up at the cemetery and when others remember Sheri. Maybe I always will, but probably not.
Charles Poole wrote a book called “Don’t Cry Past Tuesday.” A dying man told his weeping daughter that he understood her tears, and it’s ok to cry, but this is Friday, he said, and whatever you do, don’t cry past Tuesday. I think what he was saying is that tears are good, but there will come a day when the tears dry up. I’m getting close to my Tuesday, but my Tuesday will not be this October.
What seems to help me is to remember all the good things that Sheri did with her life and all the lives she touched. We are having our second annual 5K called “Strides for Sheri,” on October 27. It will be at the Carrollton Middle School, with registration at 9:00 and the walk/run at 10:00. All the proceeds will go to the Sheri Davis Scholarship fund to help a deserving high school senior who is going into education. You are invited to join us for a fun event.
Sheri would be proud. And she would tell me to “suck it up” and move on with life. I am, but that will be easier after October.