Scarily unexcited

Halloween is less than four weeks away and I am anything but excited about it. In fact, there is this niggling feeling of apprehension about what once was a favourite holiday. If I had my way, the day wouldn’t happen; the kid wouldn’t trick-or-treat and I would turn off the house lights so that no one came to the house for treats, either. Yes, I know how sad that all sounds.

Two years ago I was giddy with excitement. I was busy planning and creating costumes for Paul and my niece. I was decorating the house and the yard. I was buying candy. I was planning a “scary” dinner menu of witches’ fingers, bloody eyeballs, mummy brains, and (of course) bloody Mary’s to wash it all down.

Two years ago Paul and I spoke excitedly about the following year and about how he would get to take the kids we planned to adopt trick-or-treating whilst I stayed home to hand out candy to kids coming to the house. We were both excited about that future.

But instead of the plans Paul and I had for last year, I turned off the lights and drove to Spokane to spend Halloween with my aunt and her friends who were all going out to dinner. The only way I knew it was Halloween was that everyone (including me) was dressed up. I wasn’t excited about Halloween, but I did enjoy it for what it was – a night away from reality.

This year, I just can’t get excited. I’m trying to, really I am. But I can’t. So I’m trying to fake it. I’m trying to pretend that I’m excited about costumes. I’m trying to pretend that I’m excited about decorating the house. I’m trying to pretend that I’m excited about trick-or-treating. And I’m trying to pretend that I’m OK with doing all of this without Paul. I’m trying to pretend that I don’t mind living this new future that is so very different from my old future.

I’m afraid that if this is how I feel for something as simple as Halloween that it will be even harder when Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around. I’m afraid that my sorrow will ruin the holidays for the kid, who deserves a happy and cheerful holiday season. I’m afraid that I may never really enjoy the holidays again – that I’ll have to slap on a fake smile and pretend for the rest of my life.

To not worry about too much at once, and because Paul always said you have to finish one holiday before planning for the next, I will hold off on other holiday stresses until after the ghouls and goblins have finished begging for candy.

To keep faking it, I am planning a way-fun papier-mâché pumpkin-making project with the kid and am even thinking about possible costumes for me. And if all else fails, I will just keep reminding myself that I get to eat all the left-over Halloween candy.

I just hope that I’m able to fake it well enough so that the kid doesn’t know it’s all smoke and mirrors…

3 Replies to “Scarily unexcited”

  1. when you have a kid around you do have to fake it …… but sometimes the simple (?) act of faking it can drag you thru. now i’m not sure if this can happen with bereavement but in my experience the wee guy can wring a good feeling out of me.
    does the kid have a group of friends close by who are going trick-or-treating with their parents? can you both tag along? it is such amazing fun to go out with a bigger group – adult chat with the other parents of which you are now one) and excited giggles from the kids. and it’s much easier to hide faking it from the kid too.
    don’t eat too much candy 🙂

  2. hey you. Big sis is right, faking it sometimes leads to feeling actually ok about it too.
    But don’t worry if you don’t. Holidays are going to be tough as it’s inevitable that you’ll think about what was or could have been. Best advice is not to fight it but equally not to let it pull you completely down. Accept the sadness. It’s natural. But try to find an equilbrium if you can. Find new memories if you can. Distract yourself if it helps. Fake it if it helps. Take it as it comes. The energy expended trying to make it something it isn’t will do for you. Nobody (except you probably!) expects you to be perfect about it.
    And remember, you’re an amazing woman, doing amazingly well and an amazing friend giving amazing love.

  3. You’ve been doing a better job faking it than I have and my divorce was 7 years ago. The holidays just aren’t as magical as they once were. They are just a reminder of all those shattered dreams. A reminder of how close you were to the life you always dreamed of and it was taken from you. I wish that I could tell you that you would get those magic feelings back but I would be faking it too. The pain does lessen over time and you have a great family to make new memories with. Maybe once you go back to school and start a new chapter of your life, it will get easier.

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