My son at the age of four is just getting into Halloween. Realizing he can dress up and walk around our neighborhood asking for candy is amazing, and he is totally stoked about this year’s adventure. My almost-two-year-old daughter is still a little too young to get it, but if my son is excited about it, so is she. Me? Not so much.
Last Halloween haunts me.
At 8:43 am on October 31 as I was walking into my day job, I received a phone call from my mother telling me that my 26-year-old cousin died in her sleep. My world was rocked. After trying to process the news, I then had to compartmentalize and function at my full time job. Not only that, but my husband was out of the country on a business trip. So my go-to, my rock was literally half the world away and out of communication. I remember finally getting a hold of my husband while in a storage closet at work and shaking as I told him. The whole day was like that. Fine. Not fine. Fine. Tearing up. Fine. Back to work.
And then after a day at the office, I had to go home and be a mom. And take my son trick-or-treating. My brother has been coming over to celebrate Halloween with us since my son was born, so thankfully, he was at the house when I arrived. We couldn’t quite process anything with the kids around, so we had dinner in mostly silence (which is very rare for us). Then my son got his costume on and we moseyed around the neighborhood collecting candy. He loved it.
I was barely there. I held his sweet little hands and answered his questions, happy to have the distraction from my own thoughts. The night was crisp and cool, but not too cold. Candy intake was managed. There were moments that were fine. Then not fine. Then fine again.
This Halloween will be one year since her passing. It is hard to think about. My feelings are still unsettled. Remembering how alone I felt while grieving. Being in shock that a year has gone by so quickly. Getting randomly hit with what feels like tsunami-sized waves of sadness and anger about having to say goodbye so soon. How I don’t think I really got to share everything I needed to get closure. Being around family members who will become more and more sad as the date approaches (and rightfully so). These are my ghosts. They will haunt me on Halloween.
But I will make sure my children cannot see them. And my littles will not see my reaction to these ghosts being in the room with me. Because they will linger. All day. They are mine and I will let them follow me, but they will leave my kids alone. So they can enjoy collecting candy from strangers at night in the cool air with a fully present mother. And I will be fine.