October Once More

There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.

Orison Swett Marden, American Writer

As I write this, the trees are wearing their brilliant autumnal colors, the nights have become chillier with the nip of fall. Pumpkins, squash, Indian corn, hay bales and fall wreaths adorn front steps and doors. Apple cider, pies, and donuts seem to be in all the food shops, tempting us to indulge and enjoy this magnificent time of year.

I must admit, I’ve had a difficult time writing this week. The son of a very dear friend passed away very suddenly and has shaken us deeply. But the thought also hit me for the need to continue our good works, as we never know what tomorrow might bring. It’s important to express those words of tenderness, to do that act of kindness, to forgive…Let us not delay; do it now. So, in David’s memory, in his honor, I write about October.

Leading up to October (breast cancer awareness month), many crafters shift their focus to making comfort items (usually in pink) for the patients suffering with this disease. Years ago, a dear friend underwent bi-lateral breast removal, and I visited her the morning after her surgery to bring her handmade gifts, intended to help her during her recovery. 

I brought a soft afghan, crocheted in shades of pink and a matching cap, a special pillow designed to protect the tender areas where the breasts had been removed and the stitches. This pillow, called an “Anti-Ouch Pouch” was originally created by a mother and her daughter, both breast cancer survivors. They shared their pattern widely, and our American Sewing Guild members sewed these items for our patients, using cheerful fabrics. Our patients reportedly used them for months following their surgery while sleeping, under their garments, and to cushion them while wearing seat belts. The filling was protected by an inner pocket. As much or as little filling as desired could be inserted. It was removed for laundering.

As my friend would require radiation treatments, she also received a “Dignity Robe” to wear at her appointments. Specifically designed with Velcro closures to allow only those areas needing the treatment to be exposed, while keeping other areas discreetly covered. These were also sewed by our seamstresses with love and care.

She was understandably touched and wept openly at the unexpected kindness of strangers. She was amazed that people so generously devoted their talents and time to making these gifts. 

You may not sew, knit, or crochet, but perhaps you know someone who could use some TLC today. Maybe pick up some of those apple cider donuts to bring while you take time to pay a friendly visit. 

David, your name means “beloved”. October will never be quite the same for those of us who mourn your passing. Your family loves you deeply, and your memory will be treasured always, but especially as October comes each year.