October will never be the same.
It’s always been my favorite month, without fail, for as long as I can remember making lists of my favorite things.
October in Montreal is beautiful, with red maples and golden birches dropping their leaves to dance in the chilly breezes of fall before being crunched by happy feet. Burning daybreaks made more radiant, reflected in frosty windows and seen through the fog of a warm breath. Autumn colors brought out, in coats and sweaters and corduroy, reflecting the jewel that the world is becoming before it will fade to the quiet grey of winter.
October is for my birthday, for memories of carefully-counted candles in chocolate cake, wished on with closed eyes and extinguished to the sounds of singing and applause. It’s for turkey and cranberries, for family and friends giving thanks for our blessings as we enjoy each other’s company around a full and crowded table. It’s for carving pumpkins and putting tiny Kit-Kats into the outstretched bags of fairies and superheroes.
It’s still all of those things, of course. The world goes on as it used to. But this October changed me. I have never known grief before this, and I haven’t decided yet how I will deal with it. Much of it is very personal, and I’m not ready to share everything with the world, but there’s too much hurt right now for me to keep from writing, and I think it’s therapeutic to share, at least a little.
Some moments, I am able to see my loss through the lens of logic, and understand that death and loss is part of life, and thus not fair or unfair, not cruel. It simply is. Momo is gone – nobody took her from us, and she didn’t abandon us. She was old, and she was sick. She died. That is the way of things.
But loss stretches into the future as well as the past and the painful present. Once gone, a person can’t change and grow and laugh with you. You’re left with a static past that will never change unless you start to forget. You’ve reached the end of the book. There’s no sequel, no way to know what could have happened next. That is what I mourn more than anything. That there will be no new memories.
At any given moment, the logic and the pain coexist uncomfortably inside me. It’s Schrodinger’s grief, both present and absent, the current moment’s truth only detected if directly observed. Like Schrodinger did with his cat, I hold my grief in a small box, windowless. I am afraid to look, to examine my grief, because I am equally afraid to learn that it’s alive or that it’s dead. If I can carry it with me, this box, and never look inside it, maybe I can remain forever in this middle ground between being paralyzed by the pain and forcing myself to forget it while surrounding myself with other joys.