Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sometimes October Breaks My Heart


Yesterday I heard a powerful rustling outside the house, and turned to watch the oak tree outside the window shed half its leaves...in a single gust of wind. They all fell at once, in a rush, coating the ground beneath with giant, curling brown-paper confetti. No time to float, or linger. Just here. Whoosh! Gone.

It seems that in the space of a week we have moved from soul-soaring, saturated color...to a flurry of falling leaves. And I feel my spirits falling along with them. I look to the mountains above our house, and the cloud cover has dropped, obscuring the mountaintops with a thick, hazy fog. I feel similar clouds sinking over my heart. A heaviness sets in.

It's not just the weather, nature's life cycle, that does this to me. It used to be that certain dates in October would bludgeon me with their weight: the 7th, the 10th, the 12th, the 25th...
The day I felt no movement, heard no heartbeat, delivered a lifeless daughter, and buried her. A whole month when my body could not seem to get warm, stay warm, even wearing a winter coat indoors. Now their arrival is barely noticeable. Memories just descend in quiet moments, like a blanket of leaves.

I'm driving home from work, and suddenly she is with me, and I am back there, reliving a thought or a feeling, a moment that was key to her passing. I might even find myself mentally cradling her little head again. Sometimes I'm surrounded by her presence and the sweetness of it moves me to tears. Other times I see an eight-year-old girl and think, instead of baptizing our daughter, we had a baptism by fire.

Last night there was a woman who reminded me of my mother. It was also an October when my mother realized she would, in fact, die. Resigned. And told me so. No pink ribbons could possibly make me any more aware, and the irony is certainly not lost on me. In October.

Sometimes, in October, my feet are so heavy they scarcely move. Sometimes, in October, it is really hard to get out of bed in the morning. And hard not to go back there after the kids go to school. Sometimes, in October, I need to bury myself in a book, escape into someone else's story. Sometimes, in October, my eyes well up with tears with no warning at all, triggered by the most fleeting gesture or thought.

Don't worry about me. I'm okay. I've made it through lots of Octobers, and I'll make it through countless more. But if you see me and my smile's not quite as bright, or my step doesn't seem as light, if the look in my eyes feels distant or my brain acts a little fuzzy...it's not personal. It's just that I'm having an October moment. Or maybe a whole October day. Because sometimes October breaks my heart.

That said, I know that a broken heart ultimately pairs up with a contrite spirit, leading us Home. It's the sacrifice He requires from us. And in that perspective it seems like a very small a price to pay.

30 comments:

DeNae said...

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He died a month ago, and Octobers will never be the same.

There's an old song, the last lines of which say:

"I should be over it now, I know. It doesn't matter much how old I grow. I hate to see October go..."

I feel your melancholy vibe, dear friend. Come on over to my place. True to my deep form, we're talking about body waxing. It will do you good, lift your spirits. :)

Kristina P. said...

This was so powerful, Jana. I noticed too today that all the of the trees are losing their leaves.

InkMom said...

I want to give you a hug in person. Next best thing, coming at you right now.

L.T. Elliot said...

This post is especially poignant for me this month. I wish I could wrap my arms around you and you around me and we could both mourn for October. *hugs* Love you.

Heidi Ashworth said...

I always want to say "I'm so sorry!" when I read things like this but then I remember that these things are meant to be part of our mortal experience and we can't hope to have all that Christ has without that baptism of fire and that no matter how many dreary, ruined, Octobers one might have, it will all be worth a million dozen of them in the end. And I know that you know that and that is why you don't want people to feel bad for you. (But I would still feel better about this if it was january instead of glorious October. Or March--why couldn't it be March?) If I were she and watching you now, I would be jumping up and down with excitement, SOOOOO eager and happy for the day when I got to be your daughter, full time and for good.

kateastrophe said...

We have a similar month from November 15th to December 13th around here. I wasn't around for the loss but I feel it profoundly through my husband's emotions.

I can't imagine what those dates must feel like to you but you are so brave and wonderful to share your stories with us.

xoxo

Jennifer said...

I love you. Giving you a big hug!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I think all anniversaries (both the happy and the sad ones) celebrate a little bit of the same: the progress and growth since the initial "event," and a testament to our survival.

Look at what a beautiful person you've become in spite of (or maybe in part because of) your tragedies. I hope your October brings you a measure of comfort as well. I'm sure love falls down around you from above, along with the autumn leaves.

Barbaloot said...

That was beautifully written. I hope a new November brings happy memories for you.

Kazzy said...

October is such a melancholy month anyway, but to have all of these sad memories mixed into the calendar makes it such a toughie for you. I am so sorry.

Your mom is giving your daughter a big hug whenever you miss them both. I am sure that is about everyday, huh?

Lots of love and warm wishes.

MommyJ said...

Thank you for sharing. And I want to hug you too. That is all.

Melanie J said...

I have the melancholy for no good reason. The seasons don't even change here. It just creeps up, anyway. Maybe it's because I'm in the month long stretch between my dad's birthday and his death day. I don't know. Either way, I feel much like you do. This too shall pass. I just have to ride it out. Much love to you.

Pam at beyondjustmom said...

Blessings to you, Charrette. Sharing your pain helps us connect, understand and support, so thank you for letting us know. May the next season bring you joy in abundance.

Kimberly said...

It's easy to feel the need to offer cheer in the light of such a beautiful baring of the soul, but it would feel silly. October has the right to break your heart, because of all that it has been and meant to you.

May your healing be swift and sweet after the wave of melancholy has ebbed.

Luisa Perkins said...

I have no words, just love and sympathy.

Eowyn said...

Love you to pieces. Looking forward to Thursday.

deb said...

I want to say something profound.
But I am stilled.

hugs

Lara said...

I have a hard time responding to posts like these, because I don't feel I can offer anything but an imagined empathy. But I had to respond, because this really was powerful and just a testament to the trials we endure in this life and the hope we have in the life to come. Thanks for sharing it.

Jessica said...

I could feel every word you wrote here. In the midst of all of this pain, your depth of character shines beautifully . . . much like the metaphor of the leaves, their glory in the dying. I love your conclusion of a contrite spirit pairing with a broken heart . . . yes, this is the place God calls us to . . . I pray that you can receive the sweetness of Christ's comfort in the midst of tears and pain. Love you!

breckster said...

Have you heard Eva Cassidy's "Autumn Leaves?" If not, you may need to wait until May if you aren't in the crying mood. As I read, I heard it in my head, and I realized I do not fully comprehend that song.

Heather said...

Oh, sweet cousin. I'm so glad you've come into my life. You are truly inspirational. I draw great strength from your words. I know that our Grandma Rebecca watches down on you with great happiness. You are proof that her efforts were not in vain, that her sacrifices have brought great blessings. Much Love~~Heather

Sandy M. said...

Your picture is truly beautiful :)
xo

Susan Berlien (warmchocmilk) said...

You have such an incredible way of expressing your thoughts. Wow! I'm so sorry for the heartbreak...I can't help but focus now on the gift you have though...You are a writer I aspire to be like.

Brillig said...

I wish I could throw my arms around you and make it November already.

I love the way you look at your breaking heart, though. You write so beautifully, so powerfully. You're amazing and I'm honored to call you my friend.

Heather of the EO said...

Oh lady, I know you're OK and I love your perspective, but I'm sitting here crying for you right now because October is just so heart breaking. What a beautifully honest post.

The way your wrapped up your thoughts in the end made me think of that Sara Groves song "when the saints" When she lists all of these terribly burdened people and people who are working hard for justice for the oppressed and hurting and she finishes her list with "and the Man of Sorrow with the world on His shoulders and my easy load."

Your October load is SO not EASY, but your perspective of moving toward a contrite spirit is what makes you one of those saints.

Love you.

LisAway said...

Your October is breaking my heart, too! I think someone else said something like this, but it's true: those are the very experiences that have made you such a wonderful person.

October sometimes breaks your heart, but then comes the month of Thanksgiving.

Mrs4444 said...

Sorry I missed it. Bet you're loving today's date :)

Allison said...

Thank you for this. I think of you every October for all of your reasons, and it makes me miss you even more. Is that possible??

Roban said...

I haven't been around lately due to school and life demands, but I was scrolling through your posts and stopped here.

My heart goes out for you.

I had a miscarriage, but it was early on, before I had heard heart beats or felt movement. I felt the loss clearly then, but it has softened over time.

December 11 is my day of loss. My mom died, and I still miss her.

Hugs... and warm thoughts are being sent your way.

Mrs4444 said...

Charrette, I'm looking for a post or two of yours to record for a friend as a Christmas gift. Did I tell you? I know you have a couple that I absolutely loved, but I can't remember when you wrote them or what they were called. As I type this, I remember now that you said you might record one or two for me. Are you still going to? There is no rush-I have 15 right now and can send the CD soon and then do another to send in a month or two. Let me know....

Love you, miss you. :)