Before four years ago, November was just Thanksgiving month, the month before Christmas, the month the leaves fell and the weather grew colder, it was the month of scarves and boots and warm drinks.
Now, it’s the month my sister was murdered. It’s the coldest month of the year, the month long sadness parade in my head. It’s the month I spend fighting back tears and wondering why that man hasn’t been convicted yet. November is death and loss for me.
I try to think happy things and fail most of the time. The sadness starts to seep into other parts of my life. I find I am sad about other things. I find myself being short with people, less talkative overall. I find I cannot stand it when someone asks “How are you?” in the most innocent, passing way. I say “Not good.” and avoid eye contact most of the time.
Thanksgiving is strange. It’s one of those times where we just sort of go through the motions. The day after my sister died, we sat around my grandmother’s house eating turkey with tears streaming down our faces. It’s been the same since really. We sit and eat our Thanksgiving meal and give no thanks. It’s just a day to remember what has been taken. I’ve gotten better at putting on a happy face around people.
Angela would have been 28 years old. And let’s be honest, she would have been finally settling into who she was going to be. She hadn’t really figured it out yet. All our lives she was a baby deer, still trying to find her footing. In many ways, I think we are all baby deer who never find it. I’m sad for what she never gets to discover about life and about herself. I think about what kind of school mom she would have been. I think about whether or not she would have finally been a model somewhere and if all those modeling classes with that agency would have finally paid off. I think about how many dogs she would have owned, how many parent teacher conferences she would have been late for, how many toast and cheese sandwiches she never got to eat.
I think about a lot of things. Most of the time, I think about her long dirty blonde hair pulling between my fingers every time she asked me to French braid it. This is the thought that chokes me up more than any other thought. I think back to one of the random times she would sit on the floor in front of me and ask me to French braid her hair. I think about pulling a brush through it and how it was so long, it cascaded down to a pool of hair in my lap. I think about how I worked the hair between my fingers and how it would actually start to knot and twist at the ends because of its length. I think abour how I’ll never get to do that for her again.
In all my sadness, the light in the darkness for me is to be thankful for the people who are still here. Loss like this one makes you hug people more often. I find myself telling everyone I love them twice as much as I used to and one day I will still think it’s not enough. This month, hug everyone. Tell them you love them. Give every moment with a loved one just a few extra seconds. They will matter to you later.