Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween - bittersweet

Halloween, I think it is still my favorite holiday for a child. I want Matthew to have a fulfilling fun Halloween holiday despite of our experience. For the past 2 weekends, we went to various Halloween carnivals, parties to really savor the Halloween spirit. We carved pumpkins and talked about the anticipation of Halloween. Matthew chose his costume to be Darth Vader. He was concerned about wearing the mask not to intimidate children younger than him. He hesitated to be Darth Vader after his friends told him that Darth Vader is a bad guy. Our little boy is growing up.

In order to ensure that we are going to feel “safe” on Halloween, we brainstorm all the possibilities on whom we want to join for trick or treating. Matthew has many friends but there are a few parents whom both John and I are also comfortable with in spending this holiday when it is a very sensitive period for us. We just couldn’t anticipate. So for the unknowns, we ended up putting a lot of efforts planning to ensure that we can be “safe”. What is “safe”? If we have a grief burst, an emotional letdown, these friends allow us to express those feelings freely.

Tonight was a disappointment in my planning because I let myself down. The friends that we decided to spend trick or treating with wanted to spend time with us except we didn’t know that they already had made plans to meet up with their friends. We didn’t know that there would be more people involved until the night. At the last minute, we decided that we didn’t want to join them because we want to protect ourselves not knowing how their friends were like. Should we have been notified by our friends about having other companies, we would have anticipate otherwise.

Matthew ended up going trick or treating with our neighbor who will be leaving the neighborhood in 10 more days. They had a great experience getting candies and it was such a delight for us as parents to absorb all those special moments.

At bedtime, while I was reading to Matthew, I burst into tears. The tears were long overdue. I let out all my emotions.

Matthew asked me, “Why are you sad?”
I answered, “Mama misses Ryan.”
Matthew said, “I miss Ryan too. He is my brother. He is 2 and then he will be 3 then 4. I will be 5. So I am his brother. I will be nice to him.”
I answered, “Matthew, you were always so nice to Ryan. You took such good care of him.”
Matthew said, “Do you want a hug or a kiss or both?”
I said, “Both.”
Matthew leaned over, kissed and hugged me, asked ,”Do you feel better now?”
I nodded in tears, “Matthew, Mama loves you so much and so happy to have you.”
Matthew said, “I love you too, Mama.” and went to sleep.

You know what the cry was for? It travels back to our deepest emotions and loss. If Ryan is still alive, the boys would have company to do trick or treating together and I would never need to brainstorm whom Matthew can spend Halloween with. What if Ryan is around? Thoughts like that made John and I feel so vulnerable. We lost Ryan. We lost the pillar in our family to make our love complete. That loss challenges us each day and most sensitive during a day like today. This loss and holiday experience is so foreign to those who aren’t bereaved. Eventually, the world continues to turn and nobody can really understand the feelings of those bereaved . John and I just need to adjust and conform to the world.

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