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October is supposed to be an awesome month! A time when leaves start changing on the trees, the air around us gets a bit less humid, my birthday is celebrated, those beloved holidays are around the corner, family is a little more present, and the kids are happy to be back in school with their friends.
Except…… October is turning out to be one of those months that I dread coming around every year. October has become notorious for stealing my smile.
In 2008, my paternal grandmother died of older age complications on Halloween. Fast forward to October 2016, I was going through a lot in my personal life that was taking a toll on me and that very same month, my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
Throughout the past year now, my grandma has put on the fight for her life. She has gone through a few rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Once those treatments didn’t work, she was put on a newer medication and the medication hasn’t been successful either. Surgery has not been an option from the beginning because the tumor has been wrapped around an artery, as well as having spread to a small spot on her liver.
Today, my grandmother is at home, resting on a hospice bed, barely ever awake, and has not even eaten or drank in almost a week. The nurses are saying she may have only 2-3 weeks left — at best. I know this cunning disease is taking a toll on her body and her lifecycle will inevitably be coming to an end very soon, but I just can’t help to be hurt at the universe that it’s happening in October once again. Why? Is it coincidence? Is this how I should plan life from now on? And how can I stop October from stealing my smile every year? Well, I may have a few ideas….
#1- Focus On The Positives
I think this first step is the most important, and quite honestly, can be the game changer. I have always been someone that has been able to mentally figure out a way to make a positive notation out of any negative situation. Crazy enough though, I am only human and I do get down at times.
I love that I can rest assured, though, that this wonderful lady lived an amazing life. She was such a staple in our family. She was vibrant, opinionated, caring, and best of all she was one amazingly creative artist and writer!
Our house is riddled with beautiful artwork like this that my grandmother has been painting for us for YEARS! I love that I can simply delve in the fact that her artwork will be passed on for many generations to come, and that her memory will not be forgotten. I am thankful for these positives that I have to look forward to.
#2- Always Be Grateful
There are only two guarantees in life–death and taxes. (Lol!) Those are two things we just cannot avoid, anything else is simply circumstantial. Which leads me to remember that there is SO MUCH to be grateful for!
Whether it’s large or small, directly affects you or not, being grateful is one of the more simple things we can do for our own happiness.
I am grateful for the air in my lungs 🔺 the food put on my table 🔺 the love of friends, family, and even strangers around me 🔺 my health 🔺 the laughter that feeds my soul 🔺 I’m grateful for music that speaks the words I cannot say 🔺 for the struggles that come along and shape me to who I am 🔺 and for the ability to handle those struggles.
I am also incredibly grateful for the relationship that I was able to build with my wonderful grandmother throughout my lifetime. She has show me what strength and selflessness is all about, through watching her, but more through this phenomenal woman she raised who I call Mom. And I could not be any more grateful that both of my children were able to know their great grandmother and make memories that will last a lifetime. ❤
#3- Abandon Resentment
“Resentment is like drinking a poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Malachy McCourt
Whether each October has brought happiness, tears, sadness, or anger, I have found myself trying blame someone/something for it. There’s never any rhyme or reason for that, it’s really just human instinct to react as such sometimes.
(If this person did this different, then that wouldn’t have happened. If God had planned a fate differently, then I would’ve been more prepared. Since all of this always happens in October, then I can surely hate the universe for it!!)
Truth be told, those ⤴⤴exact words are what I was saying for the longest time. Let me tell you, it built a strong disdain and resentment inside of me that truly engulfed my every emotion when this time of year started to come around. But there has been hope, a light at the end of the tunnel per say-
RESENTMENT NO LONGER OWNS ME!! With the help of trying to see the positives in every situation, as well as being grateful for even the smallest things in life, I have been able to abandon resentment and truly gain a new outlook for when the next Octobers near.
Today, death is on the doorstep of someone very near to me. While my heart aches tremendously and I grieve, this October is definitely not stealing my smile. My heart explodes with too much love, so much gratitude, and positive memories. I choose to celebrate a life well lived, rather than a death. I love you grandma and I will see you on the other side!