• Tracy Bottiglieri

September Used To Be My Favorite Month

Do you have a favorite time of year? Mine has always been the Fall, and specifically, the month of September. I have always loved September. The start of the Fall Season. Cool, crisp outside air. Smells of cinnamon and apples baking. Sweater weather! Cozy, snuggly nights. Loungewear (such a wonderful fancy term for sweats, isn't it?). Binge-watching weekend marathons. What isn't there to like about September?



My birthday is in September. I'm sure this is the narcissistic reason I have always loved September. Then I met my husband, whose birthday was ALSO in September. And we did the only thing that seemed perfect and right to us - we got married in September. And since he is gone, September is now a month that I endure, rather than enjoy.


You may have heard that "firsts" are extremely difficult for people who are grieving. The first birthday without your loved one. The first vacation without him. Little did I know that the first time I took the trash out would be hard! I struggled and cried as I made my way down the driveway, one can in each hand, as I wheeled them to their place by the mailbox. You see - putting the trash cans by the curb was always Joe's job, until it had to become mine.


I have survived a year of "firsts," so I didn't even realize WHY I was feeling so sad toward the end of August 2020...until my therapist asked me "how are you doing?" in a way that I knew meant she was expecting me to answer "not good". She was expecting that answer. For some reason, I wasn't prepared for the sad feelings. Maybe because I'm a positive person? I am certainly a planner, so it can't be that. For whatever reason, I was simply going along with my life not anticipating the coming ache in my heart because it was almost SEPTEMBER.


Lucky for me, my friends were prepared. And I don't mean that a couple of people asked me how I was doing or texted me to wish me well. And that would, of course, have been doing enough, if that is what had happened. But No! My friends have carried me through the month with a well-planned attack against my grief. I can't thank them enough.


Lieutenant General Karen developed a plan of delivering Secret Admirer gifts to me every couple of days throughout the entire month of September. Somehow my group of Second Grade Moms (a story for another time), scheduled which day they would secretly drop off something special for me to enjoy. I have been gifted with candles, wine, stationery, chocolates, books, and so much more! Simply being thought enough of to orchestrate these guerilla-like surprises makes my heart hurt in a good way!

The gifts themselves are icing on top of the already delicious cake of feeling loved.



Major General Katie arranged for everyone in the group to deliver a birthday card for me at the same time! I am sure I have not personally received this many cards since Valentine's Day in elementary school!



4-Star Generals Carol and Abby orchestrated a Parking Lot Happy Hour with 14 women to celebrate my birthday! Anyone who has tried to find time on a calendar to get even a small number of people to show up knows what a coup this event was to undertake! Due to Covid concerns, they ordered meals and bagged Individual desserts for each person. We talked and talked. And they (way too) generously gave me other gifts. I am not deserving, but I sure am grateful. 🥰


I have been overwhelmed with love from many other family and friends also during this month. One example is a basket of notes for Things To Look Forward to in the Future. A perfect, thoughtful, and time-consuming gift that my dear lifelong friend Brenda created for me. She knows that the uncertainty of my future without my husband continues to weigh heavily on me. What better gift than giving me specifics of what I can look forward to experiencing, such as Girls' Weekends, Discovering New Books, and Sitting Around Enjoying Wonderful Memories of Joe and all the Good Times We Shared.


Finally, I am taking a long weekend getaway with several girlfriends at the beginning of October. I have been planning and looking forward to it all month. Isn't that just what we all need? Something to look forward to enjoying. I hope to blog about my trip in the near future to tell you how we tried to be Covid-responsible and still have a wonderful time!


MY SEPTEMBER THEME SONG: (I GET BY) "WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS"

To thank all of my friends and family for getting me through September AND as an extra thank you for your generosity in reading my blog, following my Instagram and simply supporting me, I have a surprise for each of you!

Below are 6 printable Fall Bucket List Bingo cards I created just for you!

Challenge up to 5 friends or family members.

Who can complete a row, or column, or the entire board first?!

YOU choose the players. YOU make the rules. YOU choose the prize.

I chose the ways you can make your Fall 2020 a little more special.



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