Tag Archives: halloween
Holidays don’t get easier, regardless how long time has passed. Halloween was a month ago and I felt it was just as hard as previous years. Past years I tried so hard to fake it by decorating the house inside and out. Pumpkins would be carved days before. Costumes planned and purchased. Sugar cookies baked and decorated. The excitement was in the air. This year I felt such a weight on me. It felt so heavy, so constricting. Even though I tried to encourage myself into doing our normal traditions, I ended up failing and nothing ended up happening.
No cookies were baked. Our home wasn’t decorated outside with only a few things inside. Our pumpkins were purchased 2 days before, and carved the night before halloween. Costumes were not on the radar, throwing together something we found at home the day of. It didn’t seem like I was the only one feeling this way, as Marco and Valin weren’t pushing for anything either. We just kept moving through the motions of the every day.
What many of you don’t understand, is how much energy and work it takes to fake going through the passing of life. It sounds easy to just go along with it all but it is truly exhausting. The simplicity of even getting up out of bed every morning can take a lot of coaxing from oneself. Movement for purpose takes thought and reasoning from those who have lost a child. Knowing the need to converse with people, to look happy, to laugh, when all you feel is dead inside is very difficult.
Being affected by such a loss will never leave us. We will never forget who our child was, could be and could never be. We will not forget the day of diagnosis, the fight he had, the slow and terrifying decline and of course his death. Those days will never leave us. Yet here we are. Getting up every morning, going to work and living life like nothing ever happened.
Halloween takes on a different meaning once you bury a child. The excitement isn’t all there, no matter how hard you try. You will still smile and laugh at the kids that trick or treat at your door, but there is still sadness and longing in the back of your mind. This is the fourth halloween without Madox. Some may think four years is a long time, but it still feels like yesterday. Unless you have said goodbye to your child, you will never understand how time stands still. Probably because as parents, we want to hold on to those precious moments, wishing for more.
Our new tradition is to carve our pumpkins, as always, but one of us now carve a fourth for Madox. We then go to his plot to “visit” and leave the pumpkin there. This year was my turn to carve for Madox, as Marco carved a pokemon for Madox last year. Marco felt Madox would still be into pokemon and Valin didn’t have an opinion. He has been having less opinions lately about “what would Madox like?” 🙁 Guess it is hard to know what his brother would be into since his own tastes have changed so much. I sat online looking at ideas when Marco pointed to an owl. Madox’s last painting he completed while he was ill was an owl. He worked so hard on it. Having double and blurry vision, he was slow at painting but ensuring he did his best job. He progressed and deteriorated so quickly that he was unable to fully complete the owl. All of a sudden, he was very upset one day as he remembered he still had to paint the owls feet to finish his work. As he could barely move, sight worsening and difficulty sitting up, he managed to draw the feet but only able to paint one foot. He cried and cried after he was done because he didn’t like how it looked. That memory breaks my heart remembering how defeated he must have felt. Having the last thing he had left stolen away from him.
After looking at the stencil, I knew instantly I needed to carve it. Valin really got into his carving this year and did a fantastic job. We had a good time together carving away, but we felt the sadness amongst us all. Missing that one other body. This year Valin and Marco had to be at soccer practice so I went alone to Madox’s plot. I went in the late evening so it was pitch dark but I managed to light the owl for Madox and kneel at his headstone for a short while. I was extra sad Marco and Valin couldn’t be there with me but I am happy we managed to get the pumpkin out to him again. As I sit here typing, children are yelling ‘trick or treat’ at my door, Marco is “ahhh’ing” at some kids cute costumes, and Valin is out having fun with friends. This new way of living is so hard on our hearts. I am just thankful we all are able to continue to live, even though our hearts are broken. Sometimes it feels like life stands still, but we plow forward enjoying the small things in life.
Happy Halloween everyone
Halloween has always been my favourite holiday. Dressing up, being silly, decorating the house and yard, and all the treats. What I loved the most, was walking around with my boys and watching them run up to each house screaming “trick or treat!” The excitement in their eyes, the giggles as they raced each other to the next house, and the enjoyment I felt for them. When they were young, we only went to a few neighbours houses. Then it expanded to the entire street, then out for an hour. It didn’t matter how cold it was, it was hard not to smile with their love of the evening. Marco and I equally loved joining the boys so we would take turns yearly. Madox’s last halloween was 2013, and Marco was the lucky one to enjoy it with his boys. If I knew Madox would be diagnosed with brain cancer 5 months later, I would have joined them instead of handing out candy. I hate the what ifs.
The night before halloween, we would always enjoy each other with a cartoon movie (probably a Scooby Doo halloween movie) and snack on the halloween cookies we decorated together earlier in the week. We would set out their costumes and talk about the route we plan to take. It was fun for big and small kids alike. The excitement is not there anymore. I helped decorate the house this year; the first year since Madox passed away. Valin asks and I pull out the tote, but he did most of it last year. I tried to get a bit more festive for Valin this year, so I helped decorate and bought some more smaller items too. I even hosted his friends to a halloween sleep over party. We all decorated cookies, ate lots of sugar treats, and watched a spooky movie. My heart was happy and yet so sad at the same time. I wondered if Madox would have asked for his own sleepover party? If he would have wanted to hang out with Valin’s friends or if he would have rather snuggled upstairs with us watching our own movie. Sigh
This year, our third halloween without Madox has not felt easier to accept. I doubt I will ever accept this. Some days are tolerable and I can live life with a small smile. There are days that are a struggle, battling myself in my own mind. Forcing myself to get up out of bed to go to work is harder some days. Many days I wake with such sorrow that I just can’t face the day. Taking a mental day might be good for me, but I worry it would take me into a spiral down into the darkness. So I go, but the smiles are few. I have been waking in the middle of the night. It hasn’t really gone away. The first thought that always comes to me is when Madox was hurting in his last stage of life. I can’t sleep after that memory has flooded through my core. I sob as silently as possible so I don’t wake Marco. Most nights I don’t sleep through the night, and I know Marco is the same.
Yesterday, the day before halloween, we three went to “visit” Madox at his plot. Visit. Ha! That’s a laugh. Marco carved a Pokemon pumpkin for Madox this year. What would he have wanted to carve this year? We are pretty confident it would have been Pokemon, but which one? We will forever wonder about things like this, which truly hurts. Marco decided on Gengar; Valin and I agreed that was a great choice.
The last pumpkin Madox carved was Pikachu- with my help. I miss sitting with him, picking out a stencil, and laughing at how grossed out he and Valin would get with removing the innards of the pumpkin. Instead of laughter and happiness, we are crying and saddened at another holiday missed. A longing of what use to be, what should be. Hard to be at a cemetery on a cold Hallow’s Eve night rather than cozy, snuggled up on the couch with my boys.
My heart remains heavy.
Halloween. What does Halloween mean to you? To your family? To us, it was full of fun and laughter. Decorating the inside and outside of our house full of scary and cute things. Planning for future Halloweens with new decorations. Knowing what costume the boys wanted weeks in advance. Baking and decorating too many sugar cookies. The boys putting in their “order” for the school party treats they wanted me to make and bring. I would say Halloween is our favourite holiday as a family. Every year, Marco and I would take turns walking around with the boys as they run house to house. One parent would stay home to hand out candy, while the other walked the streets with the boys. The last halloween Madox was able to attend, Marco was the lucky parent to giggle and run between houses with them. It just isn’t the same anymore, nor will it ever. Last year was the first year we didn’t hand out candy. We both joined Valin and a couple of his friends trick or treating. It was very hard for me, for us, to watch him walk without his brother by his side. They were always with each other, never running ahead of one another. It was so hard to see only one. After trick of treating, we packed up and went to Madox’s resting place. Valin picked out a few candy’s and one chocolate bar he knew Madox loved. Valin laid them on Madox’s name plaque and began talking about how he missed his little brother. Valin doesn’t talk much about his feelings but sometimes he relaxes enough to share a glimpse of his heartache. That was our first Halloween without Madox, the first of many. 🙁
This year was Marco’s turn to join Valin. Valin really didn’t need a chaperone but we know this may be the last year Valin lets us walk with him and his buddies. While they were having fun, I sat at my doorway wearing a really creepy mask waiting for each child to come to my door. Madox would have HATED the mask. Haahaahaa. I remember I had a big poster of a scene with many vampires in their lair. I had it on the wall walking upstairs to our bedrooms. Within a few days, Madox had me move. I put it in the dining room but on the wall behind him so he didn’t have to stare at it while we ate. Within another few days, he managed to convince me to put it away. The following year I tried putting it up again and he flatly said “can you just throw it out?” I laughed so hard. Still don’t know why he didn’t like that particular decoration as we had a few scary ones. I did as he asked and threw it out. I’m glad I was a good momma about that, and listened to his request.
I love that I can remember specific happy memories associated with certain days. Although I seem to dwell on the hard memories, the good ones find it’s way through. It makes me smile and my heart warm at little things Madox said or did. But it is short lived as I weaken knowing that is all I have left. Nothing new for the remainder of my years on this earth. I don’t expect anyone to understand, as it is very hard to grasp when you have your children smiling and laughing at your side. This hole will never be filled, so I hold on tightly to the memories we once had. Valin has shared some funny memories with us about he and Madox. This makes us so happy, always making us smile. My worry is that Valin will forget some things about his brother, so we continue to talk about Madox and about things he said or did that made him unique. We will never forget while we forge new memories as a family of 3.