Do you really need to prepare for Halloween? I guess that depends on how old your children are and what your family traditions tend to be. Daniel and I have always loved Halloween. We enjoy dressing up and trick or treating as a family. I love to decorate the house inside and out with spiders, ghosts and pumpkins. I figured it would be more difficult this year because it was Lucas's birthday as well as another holiday to celebrate as a "first" without Daniel.
The boys are obsessed with superheroes right now. Reed dressed as the Hulk, or "Hulk smash" as he likes to call him. Lucas was Batman. This is the first year Lucas asked me what I was going to dress up as. He pleaded with me to dress up. Initially, he wanted me to be "Diana". (Wonder Woman for those of you not on a first name basis with her) but I quickly explained to him that she doesn't wear enough clothes for mommy. Then he said would you be black widow? Sure, why not? She has red hair and wears all-black. I meet most of the criteria without much work. I got Avengers patches and put them on my clothes and ordered some bullet bracelets and accessories. Lucas refused to refer to me as anything other than “black widow.” We were driving in the car and he said “Black widow, can you change my movie?” It put a huge smile on my face. He’s so innocent and imaginative right now. Daniel would have absolutely loved this superhero stage, hard to believe he's not here as Captain America or Ironman.
I decided early on to trick or treat with friends. I knew it would make it easier for me to manage my feelings and the loss wouldn't be so deep. We arrived at their neighborhood had a quick mommy made boxed cake and prepared to get as much candy as possible! A good friend of mine said "you look like you could kick some serious ass," with my bullet sash, pointy toed knee high boots and bullet bracelets. Knowing myself pretty well, I think I could kick some serious ass too. Daniel would approve.
I filled my to-go wine glass, got the wagon out of the car, put the boys in off we went to build more memories.
I have found that many of your relationships change. Some people simply don't know what to say to you. They don't know how to act. Some poeople think they may "catch" the cancer. Some don't want to be around you because you are newly single. (Like it was a choice) You and your spouse used to easily fit into parties, events and dinners. You were always an even. Now you are an odd. What does that mean? What do people do with you?
You find people some are with you for the wrong reasons. They feel entitled to know everything that is going on in your life. They want to help to make themselves feel better, not because they care. They are nosy. Most of those people slowly disappear as time goes on. You were once an object of display, now people are past staring and some past caring, wrapped up in their own lives.
Sometimes you will want to talk, or at least I did, and others you won't. Tonight we attended a neighborhood Halloween Party and it was all about keeping it together for the boys. Not breaking down when Reed wanted to be carried a mile through the neighborhood. Not breaking down when entire families were visible and ours wasn't. Trying not to focus on the loss and overwhelming hurt that has consumed our day and will continue to consume the weekend. Not only did Daniel miss this event but he also missed the trunk or treating at school today.
I'm so lonely tonight. I miss you deeply.
I went shopping today at a store that I go to a lot and I had some things to return so I did that and in exchange I paid 4.95 for this pretty nice top. The salesgirl casually said "show that receipt to your husband," I froze for a quick second, smiled and nodded.
I found out this afternoon Lucas' teacher was leaving the daycare and it sent me into a spiral. I felt a deep loss. I yelled at the kids and sent them to their rooms after they dumped an entire bucket of water over the side of the tub and onto the floor on bathroom. I obviously felt guilty, started crying and went to their rooms to apologize.
Reed Asked "what's wrong mommy?" And I said I missed daddy and I needed his help. Lucas said "What do you need his help for?" I know he was going to offer to help me. And I said I need help with you. We all need him. I just sat there and cried and cried, rocking them both and praying for easier times ahead.
I was sitting in a Prepare crisis training refresher course today at work. In case something catastrophic were to happen I am trained to be a first responder. I was skimming through my notes from last winter when I had the second phase of this training. At the top of one of the pages were resources for dealing with grief and loss. At the time I wrote it down but have never looked back at it since. Sesame Street.com was listed and ended up being a great resource for my own family and for young children. I never even thought to look at my own therapeutic resources for things to help my children manage their grief.
What I heard over and over again after Daniel passed is that "oh, your children are so young. They will be fine." Or " We can't help them because they are so young."
First and foremost they both have suffered consequences from the death, and secondly those consequences are never going to go away. They are going to stick with them and this will be a life long journey for all of us. A journey that most don't understand and cant even begin to comprehend.
It really does freeze you. Your responses are no longer normal. Your emotions are no longer normal. You’re still running on adrenaline. Still in a constant frenzy but finding help for yourself and your kids is imperative. Don't be afraid to try several avenues before finding the right fit.
Sunday: October is always busy. It’s the month en-between the boys’ birthdays and I have always loved fall and taking them to pumpkin patches and any other Fall festivity I can find. I am still constantly on the move. This morning we got up and I went outside to mow. Something I am not used to doing but something I actually enjoy. Something that always makes me think of Daniel. We have a push mower, not self-propelled I might add, but I put my headphones in and have gotten into the groove. What I do not enjoy quite as much as mowing is the damn weed eater that only starts about 50% of the time for me. When I first started mowing and taking care of the yard the weed eater used to make me cry in frustration as I felt this was something I should not have to be dealing with anyway. How dare something try to tell me I can't do it. Now, I just say fuck it and let the sides grow.
After mowing this morning, I spent 30 minutes fighting with the weed eater which never even started. Reed has been sick for almost a week with a crazy "fever" virus, puffy eyes and a faucet nose. There was a memorial game in Daniel’s honor today at UNCC. We showed up an hour late, because I thought it started at 1. It started at 12:00. I felt like an asshole. The boys had a birthday party so we were leaving the game early and I went to the wrong farm. Couldn’t get ahold of the mom to determine where we were supposed to be. Wrong farm? I can't even get my kids to the right birthday party. Reed shit it the tub when we got home. While bleaching the bathtub toys I burned the rice to the point that the pan is a total loss. Lucas said to me while sitting at the dinner table with his cold bowl of cereal, "Mom I'm really upset you didn't take me to Brinley's birthday party." I replied “I'm really sorry.” He said, “sometimes sorry isn't good enough.” (wonder where he’s heard that before?)
This is one of those days when you just pack it in, go to bed and start over tomorrow.
Monday: Six Month Anniversary. I’m not real big on anniversaries because really every day is still impossible. It didn’t really strike me as any different. I shed a few tears but not really because it’s been six months but because I am missing my partner. The boys and I are doing so many fun things right now and he’s missing it all. He would have gotten us to the right birthday party and he would have calmed down and kept me sane. We are missing our family member.
Tuesday: Boom. I hit my sister’s car this morning. It was sitting in my driveway. Somehow I’ve got to slow down and get myself together. This week continues to be a struggle. Maybe I am shaken up by the time period.
I've had so many people tell me I look tired lately but I have realized this is the new me. This process has aged me many years ahead of my time already. And yes I do know that by saying "You look tired today," does mean that I look like shit. I'm not as composed as I once was. Give me a break people.
If I made a list of all the things I accomplish from one day to the next most people would fall over. I do not say that to get a pat on the back I say that to have you realize that yes, I do look tired. Single parenting is exhausting. Where is my person to bounce ideas off of? Where is the person who steps in and says don't worry about cooking tonight? Do you want me to give the kids a bath or put them to bed? Or how about 15 minutes of alone time? ALL GONE. Navigating this new crazy life has made me TIRED. All the concealer in the world wouldn't cover these dark circles. So, yes when you say gee, you look tired forgive me when I stick my middle finger up at you in return.
Meet the Author (me)
Driven by a need to help others. I have known from a young age that this is what I wanted to do. This is my very real, somewhat sarcastic, look into my newfound widowhood. I hope this site will help you as much as it helps me.