Braving Our First Halloween With Out Ryan


This is my most favorite time of year. Well, it was my favorite time of year. Hopefully it might become my favorite again some time. Usually, once the air starts blowing crisp and everything turns pumpkin flavored I get giddy with excitement and start thinking of ways we can celebrate and decorate. This time of year started to get really, really good once Ryan was born because I could share my insane enthusiasm with my child. Also, getting to see the holidays through your child's eyes is gift enough really. The first time he understood costumes or gifts under the tree happened when he turned two ... and I would do anything to do last years holidays over again. I wouldn't change anything, I just want to do the holidays with Ryan again.

My thoughts of this time of year have changed. Violently changed. I'm angry, streaked with jealously. I feel anxious, eager to just get this all over with already! The days leading up to Halloween I couldn't help but think of how excited Ryan would have been. I knew what he wanted to be for Halloween which was a blessing because I was able to purchase a costume for him. Even though his body would never get the chance to wear it. Buying that costume helped me. It made me feel like a mom again. Walking into that Party City with determination, "I'm buying this for my son. Yes, he loved Dash." Walking out of that Party City with tears brimming my eyes, my sister saying "You got this Jacqui, he has his costume now. He is happy." I'm scared for next Halloween, I feel like I will be too far from Ryan at that point. I won't know what he would have wanted to be ... I can only guess. Also, is it crazy to accumulate costumes my child will never wear year after year? I'm getting ahead of myself, I tend to do that. I need not to think of next years battles, just about how I'll get through the current ones.

Halloween. The first major holiday Dan and I have to brave with out our son.

Dan and I planned a trip up to San Fransisco to visit family and our best friends from college. We wanted to get away from the traditions we shared for the last three years. We wanted to escape Halloween and all it reminded us of. We planned to just have a normal weekend in hopes of having more laughs than cries.

We were successful. Minus one detail. We weren't able to escape Halloween. As if our minds wouldn't allow it. The day of Halloween I woke up in tears. Jealous of every single person in our family that was able to trick or treat with their children. I was overwhelmingly sad. I fiercely missed telling Ryan "Not yet dude! We have your parade at school. Then we have to wait for Daddy to get home..." and getting him dressed in his costume. I woke up feeling almost worse than I did the morning after we lost Ryan. Living through these holidays with out Ryan has made me feel like I've lost him all over again. And that, that is truly painful.

Thank God for family and friends. Thank God for our friends who got down on our level of grief. Who devoted themselves to help us through this first holiday. We remembered Ryan, we celebrated Halloween and we had a great weekend. Despite the pain and all the other feelings that tagged along.

It is so damn easy to get caught up in the feelings of pain and hurt. I seriously could have wallowed within those feelings for the entire weekend. I wanted to. But, I'm positive Ryan wouldn't have wanted me to.

The hardest thing is learning how to pay attention to your grief. You have to let yourself have your sad and angry moments. Then you have to force yourself up off the ground and try to live life with fierce grief hanging above you like a dark cloud. So far it isn't getting easier...I'm just getting used to the dark cloud.

I love this photo. Since Ryan's first Halloween we would always go over to my sister's house to trick-or-treat in her neighborhood. It was our tradition. This year she made this little memorial outside her house and her neighbors even left him candy and notes. It meant the world to Dan and I.

Happy Halloween To Our Dash. To our Ryan.

a few favorite photos from our trip ...