Yesterday was a long, hard day.
Halloween. The first in a string of fast approaching holidays. Holidays that should be very very different from what they are. Holidays that we will be spending without our son. Holidays that should be filled with so much joy, but that instead bring back so much intense grief.
Yesterday morning I slept in after a long and very full day celebrating our confirmands at church. I woke up around 10:00am and tried so hard to not think about how it was Halloween and about how the day should look so much different than it was about to look. I made myself a cup of coffee, and sat down in the living room with Scott while he worked from the couch and I snuggled with Hiro and Alexander bear and wrote. Then, I got up and showered and started packing for the annual Renew Retreat for youth & family ministry folks.
This is my seventh year attending the Renew Retreat. I have attended every single one since it began in 2009. In fact, I feel so much like one of the veterans. But this year is different. Like most things in my life, it isn’t the way it was supposed to be.
When we found out we were pregnant, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be giving up some things this year in order to make space for the really important things. Because the Renew Retreat fell on October 31, I wasn’t going to come. It was supposed to be Alexander’s first Halloween. We would dress him up, and walk around the neighborhood trick or treating.
I had trouble shaking that feeling as I left the house. It was hard to leave home. It was hard to leave Scott knowing that this day would be just as hard for him as it was for me… but I was running away from it. I was leaving the place where I’d have to watch trick or treaters, see kids in their costumes, and face the grief of Alexander not being here head on. I was leaving to go to a safe place where I wouldn’t have to even think about the fact that it was Halloween.
I drove to camp with a heaviness in my heart. I usually look forward to this retreat so much, and yet as I made my way to camp, it just felt heavy. Something wasn’t sitting right with me. This isn’t how it was supposed to be.
I spent the afternoon catching up with a few friends. Then, just before our evening session, I got a picture from my friend SC. Scott had decided to take Hiro and go out trick or treating with her and her son in our neighborhood.
I wanted so badly to be there.
Then, Scott sent me a picture of their candy load… sorted out just like he and his brother used to do after trick or treat.
I wanted so badly to be there.
As we wrapped up our day at the Renew Retreat with evening vespers, I just couldn’t hold back the tears. My body was here at camp, but my heart was at home with Scott. Grief washed over me as I thought to myself: Maybe this was the wrong choice today. Maybe I should have stayed home. I should have been there with Scott.
And I couldn’t help but think of Scott. My brave husband who embraced trick or treat even though it looked so much different than it was supposed to. My husband who truly is the very best dad there is. My husband who channels all his dad energy into the young people around us. It just oozes out of him and he can’t help it.
So, yes. Halloween sucked this year. This isn’t how it was supposed to be. Not one single bit.
I just love and miss Alexander so much. Especially on days like yesterday, when all the things we’re missing out on are so tangible. It’s just not fair.