Holidays are hard for me now since Tin and my father are gone. They passed away 10 months apart and it is very clear that so much has gone on that I can’t process some situations better than I thought I would. Round 2 of the holidays coming and I’m worse than last year. I guess it makes sense. That whole first year is a blur trying to manage what was going on inside with what had to go on outside and nothing meeting in the middle. I swear it was just the start of the summer and now Halloween has passed and I feel the heavy.
Everyone celebrating pumpkin spice everything, excited about costumes and I can barely fake a smile. Group themed work costumes dumped onto me so, you know, I have too. We have kids’ Halloween events at work and I’m a go-to-guy for announcements and costume contest hosting. Surrounded by the Fall festivities, I’m full of Autumn anxiety and everyone is assuming I’m ok.
While everyone was dressed at the start, I waited. I technically didn’t need to be in costume early. I had a coworker ask why I wasn’t dressed yet in a jokingly judgmental tone. It wasn’t the direct question I wanted at the start of this seasonal oppression but it was close enough. I was honest. Clayton and I loved Halloween and now I hate it. Maybe one day I’ll enjoy it but not now. He was obviously taken aback but I didn’t stop explaining how hard it is to see families with happy dads and kids, couples costumes, hearing people planning parties you don’t want to go to and pretending to be ok. I’m not ok. I’m sad in this season of spirits and it’s just beginning.
I got dressed, did my job and got out of costume right away. You’d think that I’d like to pretend to be someone else for a little while but the return from the fantasy hurts worse than staying in my truth. I don’t want to be someone else. I just want people to remember who I am, that I am widowed and they should ask how I’m doing. I’ve always feared that if I’m out of sight than I am out of mind. It’s partially true and the hardest part is that when they forget to include my widow-ness they are forgetting about Clayton. They are forgetting about his spirit.
Ironic that I remember as a kid during Halloween being worried about seeing a ghost and now here I am hoping to catch a glimpse of one I’d know…