I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
The turning of each month gives us the chance to reflect and be renewed for what’s here and ahead. Last month was … I’m not sure I have the words. We buried my dad last month and I miss his positive spirit every day. There are many moments I have the instinct to call him, and then I remember. I look back at September and wonder how we did it: the first weeks of grief, arranging his funeral and all that entails, and doing our best to love each other well. The answer is we did it together—with abundant kindness from friends.
We came home two days after dad’s funeral to start the new school year. Homeschool has been a gift in all of this. I’ve been refreshed by the books we’ve read aloud, and new discoveries in our learning – many of them mine! Most of all, though, I’ve been grateful just to have time together. Favorites from September: poetry (always), finishing the first two Narnia books (the audio with Kenneth Branagh is masterful), the history of the horse, and introducing the kids to an old familiar friend, Shakespeare, starting with Henry V.
I caught my breath at moments during the last weeks through the Jewish holidays, which I love. Ari and I spent Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah together at services. Rosh Hashanah, the new year, gave us a moment to exhale from all we’ve been through the last months and listen. There’s something about the call of the shofar, the ram’s horn that’s blown, that awakens us to what matters and our present reality. As the sound echoed through the room, I thought about dad and the whole of this year. I’ve learned so much in it all, and the most significant thing right now is the gift of grief acknowledged. It was particularly moving for us to stand with others who had recently lost loved ones as they sang the mourner’s prayer. A new year, for me, doesn’t mean I leave all of these hard things behind. It means I recognize them as a way forward—a gift of connection to the Lord and others. Blessed are those who mourn; through the loss, I feel that blessing, day by day, hour by hour.
October started with helping to make warm pumpkin soup at church and planting our fall garden. They say that gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes. I still appreciate therapy, and I’ve processed a whole lot through pulling weeds, getting my hands dirty, and taking leaps of faith to plant new things too. I found a multi-color kale mix at my favorite garden center called “Kaleabration.” How fun is that? In addition to the kale party, we put in collards, pansies, tulip bulbs for spring, and a couple of blue-point junipers in the front yard. The most thoughtful and generous Cultivate ladies also gave me a gift card to For Garden’s Sake to get a tree in honor of dad. I’m praying about what and where to plant this generous gift.
My PowerSheets goals for October are focused on this new season in front of me, all action steps from my 2022 goals. I’m eager to dig into the new 2023 PowerSheets, too. (Get yours here!) I am thinking I’ll start in a couple of weeks when I take a night away for a grief retreat Ari has encouraged me to take. I’m just going down the street, but I’m hoping this short time will give me dedicated space to reflect and pray. I wish you all a wonderful month filled with what matters most to you. A reminder for both of us: the small things are the big things that add up over time; no perfection required.
What are you focusing on this month? I’d love to hear.