This eleventh month of the year is not my favourite. The trees are bare. It’s cold. The wind is strong, denuding the trees of whatever shrunken brown leaves might still remain. The days are short and darkness comes early.
Already there are some mornings when I arise to a white world. My entire environment has changed dramatically from spectacular autumn. So sad.
But, November must have some redeeming features. What are they?
We celebrate a number of birthdays in our family this month. Those are wonderful distractions and mean a lot to me.
Two sisters-in-law, several nieces and a nephew all have birthdays this month, as do a grandson and our eldest daughter.
Lastly, but never last (he runs too fast) my great-grandson’s special day is on Nov. 29. Both of our deceased mothers’ birthdays were in November as well. So much to celebrate; so many wonderful memories and nostalgic ones too.
Nov. 11 is Remembrance Day in Canada.
I have immense respect for those who lost their lives far away from home. The land of my birth, Holland, was liberated by Canadian soldiers, which is why Remembrance Day is personal for me.
Many Canadian war dead are buried in lovely park-like cemeteries in the Netherlands. I have visited several of them.
I take pleasure in watching the respectful, dignified ceremonies from Ottawa on TV. Another alternative is to go to the Sudbury Arena and participate in the services of remembrance, in person.
It is most important to spend a minute’s silence in their honour.
In our family, we rejoice that my brother received a liver transplant many years ago on Nov. 11. He was terribly ill before that liver was available for him.
I am grateful to the bereaved family, who lost a family member, that in their grief they made the difficult decision to donate their loved one’s organs.
Others also received precious organs from this same person. The long surgery has given my brother many years to know, love and enjoy his four grandsons, all of whom were born after the transplant.
He is living a happy life with his spouse in their lovely home on Black Lake — a clean lake, teeming with fish, which my brother loves to catch.
My brother-in-law received two much-needed kidneys from donors 10 years apart. I have registered my wishes to donate tissue, organs, eyes, etc. after I pass away. It is crucial as there are so many hoping and praying for an organ.
We change from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time the first Saturday of November, and I like that. That extra hour’s sleep is welcome indeed. Oh, I know we have to give it back in spring, but I’ll think of that when the time comes.
As I look back to many important dates in November, I have come to realize that the month is actually an important and festive one for me. The November blues cannot attach themselves to me this month.
Erna de Burger-Fex is a writer and retired teacher.