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November huh?

November. 
What a month hey?
I have a love/hate relationship with the eleventh month of the year.
Those of you who know me personally or who follow my blog know that November is a tough time for my family. On November 29th we will have the 9th anniversary of my sister's death.

I remember after Marguerite died, some very wise people said to me that things do get better. The pain and loss do lessen, and life goes on. You know what? They were right. They were more right than I allowed myself to believe at the time. Little did I think nine years ago that I would end up living in Scotland with a big hairy Scotsman, working in a job in retail that I genuinely enjoy surrounded by people who don't point, and stare and whisper under their breath as I walk by. But I am here, and very happy to be here.

Every year since, around mid-October, I tell myself that this year it will be different. That I won't develop a month of PMS style symptoms (you know the kind, tears at TV adverts, bizarre sleep patterns, irrational reactions to mundane situations). Every year I have been wrong though I do hold optimism that next year will be different. One year I will be right.

What astounds me is how I deal with my emotions in November. I post the odd Facebook status on my sister's birthday and on her anniversary, but generally I feel quite uncomfortable with with the entire thing. I try to keep myself busy, I try to write as much as possible and I try to speak about it as little as possible. I don't consider it bottling up my emotions. My emotions tumble out through my pen onto paper. I just don't see the point in upsetting myself. I feel that I have cried enough over the last decade to last me a lifetime. Why bother to shed any more tears?

I try to turn November into a month of remembering. I guess it is rather fitting that November 11th is Remembrance Day. I try to use November as a month of reconnecting with friends. A month of dealing with issues that I may not have dealt with properly during the year. A month where I decide that I have spent the last ten months well, and that I can file the year away as a good, successful year. This year I can definitely do that.

The positive of November is that it is a very harsh reminder about how short and uncertain life really is. It is like my annual post-it that reminds me to cherish and value what I have. It is also the month that makes me realise that I should ring my Granny more often. Aunties, tell that woman to answer her phone! They say in many cultures that death isn't an ending, it is a rebirth. I consider it a reminder. A lesson. And a good excuse to pull out those embarrassing photos.

To everyone who has reached out to me over the last eight Novembers I thank you all sincerely. This year, I ask not for sympathy but for stories and joy. Laughter and memories. I think at this stage it the game it is a far more fitting tribute to that beautiful girl who left us all those years ago.


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