November is notoriously fickle in Minnesota. The National Weather Service lists it as our gloomiest month (sunshine 39% or less than 11 days of 30). We had the Armistice Day blizzard on November 11, 1940 that killed 49 people in Minnesota alone, and 145 total deaths in the affected region. That day started out mild with some clouds, some drizzle towards noon and finally slashing wind, plummeting temperature, and close to two feet of snow falling in under 24 hours in some areas. In other areas, the snowdrifts topped 30 feet. The Edmund Fitzgerald sank on November 10, 1975 during a near-hurricane-force gale, immortalized in song by Gordon Lightfoot. Very large temperature swings occur. The daily average high and low temperatures drop almost a degree per day. Just this past Sunday, we had two EF-0 tornadoes on the ground about four miles south of me. Thankfully, no one was hurt although there was some damage to houses and cars. All I had here was some 20 – 25 mph wind gusts. Saturday was sunny, warm, and 69°F. Today (Monday) was overcast, blustery and a high of 26°F and a low (so far) of 19°F. The Minnesota Climatology Office has a list of the worst Minnesota storms. Notice how many fall in November.
Tomorrow marks seven months since Lucy died and Wednesday would have been my brother Robert’s 44th birthday. Going through the grief process is like going through November in Minnesota. For most part, it is dull and cold with a clamminess that cuts to one’s soul. The storms come quickly, harshly and with no warning leaving one damp, shivering, weakened, and miserable. But there are days similar to last Saturday where warmth and light reign for a few precious hours. Those hours are enough to dry off, warm up, and gather enough strength to keep moving forward.
Never underestimate the power of even a small kindness. A smile is a ray of sunlight cutting through the gloom. A hug is a break in the clouds with warmth and light. Letting someone know you care lifts that person off the ground. Combine all three and a person can weather an impending storm. Love is very powerful stuff. There will be many stormy days ahead, but eventually the grief calendar will start a new month with the promise of spring on the horizon. It only seems like the calendar is measuring months on Pluto rather than Earth.
If I may, I would like to ask a personal favor. Please keep Steve, Suzy, and Julie in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season. This will be the second Thanksgiving without Betty, but the first without Lucy and Bob. They are such wonderful people and I am very blessed to have them in my life. Give them some sunshine and warmth to help them get through their grief November.
I miss so many things about Lucy, but the hugs and cuddling are what I miss the most, and it’s been the hardest adjustment to make. If the weather is as cold in your part of the world as it is here, cuddle if you have someone. Aw heck, cuddle even if it isn’t cold!