Letting Myself Have November

A week ago, I told someone new a summarized version of my life story. I opened and emptied the jar of my mess right onto her lap, and she just took it. Then she looked me right in the eye and said, “Your story is going to help people.”

Those words were the exact words I needed to hear. I don’t think she knew that I needed to hear them, I think she just believed it to be true. The whole day prior to this moment I had been feeling insecure and scared about what the realities of my suffering meant for me. Then she took my mess as it was and told me that my pain was going to help others, because she really believed that.

She believes in my pain, but I fail to see its hope. Instead I just feel it. I feel all of the hurt that comes with my story. But as she reminded me, other people have painful stories too.

My pain starts with November of 2013 when my mom died. November is now a month I dread the most each year. It holds unwanted emotion. It harbors the pain that comes with the memories of the very worst day of my life to date.

I’ve been sitting in so many coffee shops this month trying to figure out what the reality of November is going to mean for me this year. Am I going to talk about the pain that comes with this month? Will I keep to myself? Will I have another break down? Will I push everyone away, or will I continue to let new people in? I withdraw so easily and open up so scarcely. Letting people into my world — a world that can be dark and scary — is seldom something that comes naturally.

I want to ignore the month as a whole. I want to skip over it as if it doesn’t exist. My reality is that I can’t ignore that November 29th is a day that will come every single year for the rest of my life. The month of November will always remind me so deeply of the person who is no longer there. It can never just go away.

I’m afraid of remembering too much of the bad stuff and not enough of the good stuff. I work myself up over that fear this time every year. When I talked to my friend about this she said, “Just let yourself have November.” She didn’t mean that in the literal sense, considering everyone has to have November. She meant that I needed to give myself the room to feel when I needed to.

With every loss there is going to be a day, or a season, or a month associated with more pain than others. Each of those moments will hold the reality of the fact that they’re gone. Nobody wants that reminder, but we have to have it. Allowing ourselves to have those moments are huge steps towards healing. This November, I am going to give myself that space to heal.