National month for a lot

Today I posted an epilepsy awareness graphic on my personal Facebook page. Someone commented that November sure is “National Month” for a lot of things. And so it is, as if a lot of causes saw the end of the year was coming and hadn’t gotten their space in on the calendar!

For me, it’s the month that marks the scar on my hands and feet, still mostly visible on my right hand. The moments seem so long ago, yesterday at the same time. The fire was my accident, my fault and overwhelmed a peaceful evening. It was a mistake that I couldn’t cover up. As time wore on, the pain was deeper, pressing into my hands and feet, burning beneath the skin after I’d been given the all clear by the fire paramedics that came to my house. My face stung when hair burned, I was sure that there must be some singed skin, but there wasn’t on my face, just my hands and feet which made what I’d done obvious. My kitchen was blackened beyond what I could explain. There was no way I could paint over the damage. The icepacks ran out, the pain meds from the paramedics was soon gone and I had no choice left but to call my mom who in tern called my husband home to help me get to the hospital for proper burn care. It was a crazy experience that I just wished I could take away and wondered what the purpose was. Someone commented that this would just be a hard year. And it’s been a year. A year of twists, learning and growing. November is: National adoption month, national Alzheimer’s month, and Lung Cancer and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, that’s a lot of awareness! My favorite way of marking November is to call it No Shave November, a movement that a lot of people seem to be following. Second year of trying to persuade my husband to participate, but no luck so far! The idea is to hold off shaving for a whole month and to donate the money that would be spent grooming in normal routine to a cause.

I remember the shrug of a comment last November that my burns might be a sign that I’d have a hard year and hope that another November coming around is the folding up of the wrinkles of the past months.

Epilepsy awareness also has a National Day, which is in March. In an effort to close up the past year I’ve set up some goals for myself, I guess sort of like what people traditionally do for January 1. My neurologist wrote in my file on Thursday, “Wishes to lose 20lbs.” Goal! I want to keep up with my kids and husband as they grow, get organized and that feel healthier about myself. Come on, November!

Oh, also Angel Tree with Reece’s Rainbow. There’s that whole goal to raise $1,000 for children waiting for adoptive families. It’s wonderful to participate in that. This year I’ve signed up to sponsor a 14 year old with Down Syndrome waiting for a family; she lives in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, bringing her hope will take a pretty special family, but every child sure deserves a loving home. Her name is Paige. The guy from last year who we managed to raise over $1,000 for didn’t get a donation the whole year between and is on Angel Tree again, his name is Kolya and he’s also waiting in an Eastern European orphanage (different country though) where no one visits. He’s 11 now and really deserves a chance.

November. It’s grey and begins the shorter darker days, but every day is a new day and that’s just that much more of a chance to change someone’s life for the better, or to cut them down. I guess when I go to bed, I try to seek God and find peace to have peace.

As November is national month for a lot, so every life has a purpose and is worth lifting up and honoring.

November 2005 I announced that I was pregnant at a Thanksgiving table in New England to a family who I haven’t seen in 7 years. It’s OK, because there’s no saying good bye to awesome people, just pretty much saying thank you. I hope that anyone who is reading this marks events and holds appreciation even for things that might feel really dark and embarrassing, like my burns. I want to begin and end with thankfulness.

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