The Truth About October: It’s a Month That’s Hard to Love

The truth about October is that it’s just hard.

A photo of Mikey, the child I found dead in October.
Mikey A Black , Toledo Bend Lake, 2005

If the month was once filled with the promise of fall–crackling fires that were warm and inviting, colorfully dressed scarecrows, happy children plotting their sneakiest tricks for Halloween–I can’t remember it. 

The month was forever changed in 2006 when I woke up one cool morning to find my youngest child not sleeping, but dead on our couch.

This Can’t Be Right.

The same son who once asked me how I knew that God existed. Earlier, on my way home from work, it could only have been God who whispered the truth in my ear so I would be ready. So when Mikey asked, “How do you know God exists?” I told him, “Because YOU exist.” 

Mikey could wrap his head around that. He knew how much I loved him. He knew I meant that was all the proof I needed that there was a God.

We’d build a fire every day, sit around, and talk about life.

Now when October approaches, I feel a sense of dread and apprehension. I know that every time I say, think, or write the word my mind will take me back to that moment when I touched my child’s back and the truth of my life was changed forever, because I felt no life in my baby.

My mind screams loudest in October.

I don’t think I could ever come up with words that were big enough to cover the amount of loss that I feel–that I know I will always feel. I realize that I will never drown out the sound of my own keening in my ears. It’s there now, an auditory representation of the line drawn between sanity and insanity. 

For God So Loved the World

If my precious daughter had not been born this month, it would have no naturally redeeming quality for me at all. My hope is found in Jesus Christ, or life itself would have no redeeming quality for me. 

That He gave His only begotten Son

I thank God for all the gifts in my life.  October stands as a reminder not to misuse them, and not to take a second of time that I spend with a loved one for granted. 

We are all appointed a time

My husband says that people talk about it when children die. They try to come up with reasons. Over-protected, a little wild, drove too reckless–but the truth is that they know death doesn’t discriminate. It comes for everyone sooner or later.

A time to be born and a time to die

I thank God for giving me the ability to pour my pain on paper so I don’t have to carry it all by myself. I appreciate the way I’m able to take colors and create lighthouses that stand in the midst of the fiercest of storms or the calmest of seas.

Yea, though I walk through the valley…

How precious to be able to watch my children and grandchildren closely for each expression on their faces! I know how to listen to the sound of each of their voices and to pay attention to what they have to say, because it’s meaningful and important, even when it’s not.

Of the shadow of death

There is nothing that can replace a child who is gone, but I’m thankful for what I have. God has rained His Grace down on me. He continues to bless me, and I never did one thing to deserve it. His Grace is amazing!

But it’s October, and the truth is, I’ll never stop missing my son.

I’ve accepted that as a part of my life. I’ve also accepted that I will never be whole on this earth again, and it’s more okay now than it used to be. I wouldn’t want to be whole yet be without the child God gave to me. 

That whosoever believeth in Him

There was a time when my belief in God faltered. Even when I acknowledged He exists, I couldn’t believe that He could possibly be GOOD. On the days that I saw evidence of His goodness, I couldn’t find where it was aimed at me.

I will fear NO EVIL

So I went to war with God. I spent years trying to beat back the waves of the storm, and He let me battle and cry until I was spent, and it was October again. When there was nothing left of me, I asked Him for the truth. “God, HOW DO I KNOW YOU EXIST?”


As always, His Grace shined through during the darkest of days. Only God could have whispered my own words back to me…”because YOU exist.”

For THOU art with me

I’m HIS child. I could wrap my head around that. 

“That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.” William Wordsworth

The pier at Pendleton Bridge Marina, where we spent a lot of time before life came down to one moment of truth in October.
The Pier at Pendleton Bridge Marina, by a bridges

I revised this post 10/13/19 and also posted it to Medium.

For more on grief and recovery, click here.

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