October used to be my favorite month.
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, as far back as I can remember. Long before I started down the Pagan path, and long before I even knew what “Goth” was, I looked forward to playing dress-up and eating lots of candy. Up until I was twelve, it was the one time of year that I might be allowed to wear makeup if I was lucky (if I wasn’t, I got stuck with those slightly dangerous and really uncomfortable plastic masks). If I was really lucky, my brother wouldn’t find and eat all of my candy haul.[i]
As I got older, I found so much more to love. I learned the origins of the holiday and began to appreciate it in a whole new way. I started looking forward to the season, the time of year, and not just the holiday. There was something magical about the change in the seasons – the chill in the air; the smells of fallen leaves, cinnamon, pumpkin, and apple pie; the lengthening nights. I like summer, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve always been happy to trade the strappy dresses and sandals for warm snuggly sweaters and tall black boots.
But you’ll notice I speak in the past tense here. Because I lost Boo in October, two years ago. The day before Halloween, actually, and I was miles away. The one Halloween I don’t spend with my Baby Boy, and something terrible happens. I will never completely forgive myself for gallivanting off to Salem and leaving him with my parents.
Halloween was our time. I always spent it with him. I painted a giant haunted house for him, in fact. It’s not very good, but my husband has given it a rather prominent place in our living room because it belonged to Boo. And there are black cats literally everywhere this time of year. So even though not a day has gone by since he passed that I haven’t thought about him, it is so very much worse right now.
October will always have bad associations for me now. I can’t seem to recapture the magic this time of year once held for me. I’m trying. I really am. Even though we can’t travel this year, Alex has booked at least one Cool Activity for every weekend this month, and a couple during the evenings. And I have a costume! So it’s not like I don’t have anything to look forward to.
But I just can’t shake the feeling that there’s something missing – because there is.
[i] My brother is seventeen years my senior. By the time I was old enough to be sentient, he was a grown man. He had a good-paying job and very few expenses, since he lived at home with us until his late twenties. He ate my candy out of pure meanness.