Like all kids growing up I loved Halloween. I was (and still am) something of a candy addict, so any holiday that centered itself on artificial chewy goodness ought to be celebrated fully I thought. I would binge through my entire basket within the first few days (okay hours) and then proceed to steal one piece at a time from my frugal sister Kim’s plastic pumpkin hidden in her closet (years ago I came clean and confessed this to her). As an adult however, I still held an appreciation for the annual candy binge, but I started to think it was a bit odd that kids dressed up in random costumes, walked around neighborhoods in the dark and asked strangers for treats.
The first Halloween Ben could begin to grasp the concept of such a celebration was spent in the hospital getting chemo, which ironically was colored bright orange. The next year we were home. We were 48 hours into his catastrophic relapse, having been told that he would not survive this disease. But he didn’t know this – or if he did it didn’t seem to bother him – so answering the door at our house was very exciting for him. My cancer filled son, with tumors in his head, organs and bones spent the evening passing out candy to the healthy kids, exclaiming, “Congratulations!” when he opened the door. I listened from my bedroom upstairs, as I couldn’t bear to witness such vast unfairness.
Perhaps as Ryan gets older I will find myself enthralled in the sugariness of it all once again, as I get the chance to see it through his sparkling blue eyes. But it will take time. And right now I cannot separate this weekend on the calendar from my memories of Ben’s relapse. The irony of Ben’s death sentence taking place during a holiday weekend which is primarily for children is not lost on me. Therefore as it is rapidly approaching, I find myself loathing it – especially as I have been seeing houses in our neighborhood decorated with fake grave stones and skeletons. WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS??? It must be soooo much fun to pretend that someone died at your house or that there are ghosts hanging around where you live. But guess what? My son DID die in my house. Maybe I should stop dusting his vacant room and let the cobwebs grow as they will. We could host our own haunted house! Those parents who find skeletons and gravestones entertaining could come through while I hide in the closet whispering spookily into Ryan’s play microphone, “Yoooooour child tooooooo can get cancer and diiiiiiiiiiiiie…..HAHAHAHAHHAHA!”
There is nothing fun or funny to me about death – pretend or real. You want to be scared? Try hearing the news your child will die. But decorating your house as if someone died and is now buried in your front lawn is completely insulting to me. Why can’t people just put a cute pumpkin by their door? Or a sweet scarecrow? How about some fall mums?
Some might say I am being a little oversensitive. Perhaps. The empty twix wrappers surrounding me on my desk would seem to say I am “having a moment”. Hopefully I will not come to find one of these families was adamantly against the hospital’s expansion or I might light their entire lawn on fire.
In the meantime, I am looking forward to the post-Halloween sale on candy corn. No one in our house is being deprived of treats – just our other family member.
(and yes, these candles can be yours at Pottery Barn!)