October is coming. It is almost time for scarves and marshmallows around the fire pit. October is coming with its pumpkins, and orange and red leaves that crunch under boots. October is open windows, cool mornings and fuzzy blankets. Every September, I love the promise of October just around the corner.
But October is also sadness slowly creeping into my heart. Not the everyday sadness that I feel year-round as a bereaved mom, but a special sadness reserved only for fall. It is full of the bittersweet memories of being hugely, happily pregnant with my first child.
It is my season of grief.
Fourteen years ago, I was blissfully unaware of how broken and sad a baby’s birthday could be…how birthdays are not always the happy occasion you dream they will be. October means planning a birthday party for a not-so-little boy who will never see it…making a cake that no one will eat. October means a heaviness on my heart as the days creep toward his days…the day he died, the day he was born, the day we buried him up in the Blue Ridge Mountains next to his great granddad.
This year, it means intentionally carving away time to sit with the grief that has grown familiar and comfortable. The sweet fall smell of blue sky October days is like a balm to my heart as I remember my little Owen baby.
October is the month I both dread and love.
It is the last full month we had with our Owen. It is the time I look back on with affection because I was so hopeful and happy; so ready to have him in my arms. October was full of baby showers, nesting in our little apartment and the excited anticipation of first-time parents. I didn’t know what was coming the first week of November, and I feel both thankful and regretful of that. I loved him as best as I could those last October days. It was our special time. I could barely take my hands off my growing belly. Those were the days when I ate for the both of us, wondering what would make him dance and bounce the most. The days that I had longed for when we found out we were pregnant. The happy days just weeks from his due date when every day felt as if it were leading up to the best day of our lives.
October is still pumpkins and changing leaves that crunch underfoot, and the building excitement of Halloween just around the corner. But October is also full of grief, of bittersweet memories we wear like a blanket worn soft with brokenness and held together by hope.