The October Series - Show Me How To Live

Posted By SK Reid  
10:00 AM

I hate October.

Every year. It never gets easier.

This post is one from a few years ago and I'm re-posting in honour of my Dad, my cousin, our babies and my breast cancer Warrior sisters.


Show Me How To Live


Unseasonal weather surprises once again with infinite variability, rain and cold, sunshine and warmth, then rain again; the gentle sound of raindrops on the tin roof inviting contemplation of the shape and depth of emotions this time of year brings.


Such an unobtrusive, deceptively brutal month, sneaking up, catching me by surprise every time we meet.

You are the month that has been dedicated as the Breast Cancer Awareness month, turning pink each year in aid of a worthy cause.


I hate the commercialisation of the Pink Month.

But I hate breast cancer more.

I remember Pink Ribbon Day last year.

Friends held a fundraiser for Jodie because her cancer came back.

For a third time. Yep. The fluffy pink cancer. The one that people think is nothing more than a marketing opportunity to raise awareness for the commercial interests wanting to make themselves look good.

But it doesn’t look good.

Not on anyone.

Have you seen what happens to breasts mangled by cancer?  

It goes to the heart of your image of yourself as a woman.

Your identity.

Have you seen what happens to the family of the woman whose breasts are mangled by cancer?

Until you have walked this path, you can’t know how you might feel.

I didn’t.

Jodie didn’t.


Jodie died in January this year.

Three months after October.

From that pretty, nothing, pink cancer.


Cancer is cancer.

All different.

And yet strikingly, chillingly similar.

Cancer cells in uncontrolled replication, striving for immortality.

An eternal paradox- striving for immortality yet killing the host.

Flawed, brutal perfection.


October, you remind me that the cancers can kill, even the pretty pink ones.


You also stand watch over the bruised and broken hearts who grieve the loss of a baby or pregnancy.

I am one of those people, my heart bruised and battered from the grief of the loss of not one but two babies.

The gift of hope in the blessing of a new baby, due to be born in the safety of your promised joy, only to be robbed of life by his death in the months before. 

My second baby was due two days before the 2016 International Pregnancy and Infancy Remembrance Day.


Thank you October.


Daddy I Miss You


Finally, October, you are the month that robbed my beloved Father of his time here on Earth, five years ago this year.

The shops are now filled with macabre reminders of the ancient dance between you and the spirit world.

Halloween makes the commercialisation of cancers of the breast look like child’s play. You wear this celebration with striking flair. Orange pumpkins with geometric shapes cut out for eyes, ghoulish masks of death sweetened by candied treats to trick the gullible into an easy, safe connection with the spirit world.  

All Saints Day.

You are the host to the anniversaries of two weddings and the ending of a precious life.

You took my Father on All Saints Day.

The dark irony does not escape me.

The day my Father drew his last breath is the very day you claimed as the one to honour our dead.

Beyond the hype and commercialisation of All Saints Day lies the whisper of something at once both disturbing and profound.


Etched forever in my mind is the image of my Father on his death bed, flowers adorning his sinking face, vestiges of the warmth of life lingering in his cooling body; all the while the sound of children’s voices echoing up from the street below; dressed in long black cloaks and white ghostly faces as they went door-knocking from house to house in search of an affirmation of an ancient tradition they knew nothing about.

The brutality of contradiction.

Of life in the midst of death.

Of life passing into death.


October, you carry such a blindingly bright torch of sorrow and spirit for me.

How can it be that there are three such overwhelmingly significant occasions held within the ambit of your reach? How is it possible such magnitude of importance and intersection of meaning can constellate in the orbit of this one month? You capture the duality of the heartache of life and the horror of death in one simple snapshot, two sides of a single coin.



Baby loss.

All Saints Day….

....And the death of my beloved Father


October, you push and pull me with your brutal horror, your stark and searing reality.

You smash my heart in two, time and time again; all the while holding my face to the truth of the stark light of day.

You remind me we all must die.

That every life also means a death,

That every death, therefore, is an ending of a precious life.

We are here for such a short time.

And so our time on Earth is a gift we must cherish.



You have taught me about death and about loss. Again.

Will you now please show me how - with these lessons - I can live?




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