It’s hard to believe if you’re living in the Carolinas like me, but it’s officially Fall.
As of today, it is October. And for all of us who relish the spookiness of autumn and winter, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
There are skeletons and pumpkins, Halloween decorations and costumes galore. Starbucks brought back the Pumpkin Spice Latte, Aaron Mankee is releasing weekly episodes of Lore this month, and all those great cheesy horror/comedy movies we grew up watching start airing on repeat. (Heads up, Freeform has 31 days of Halloween. You should check it out if you’re looking for something to do.)
The veil is thinning! For those of us who practice a Craft, now is like our time of the year. Mabon has just passed and Samhain is quickly on its way. If ever there was a time when we are the most grounded and closest to our beliefs, it’s this period of the year.
On a personal front, I’ve finally found the strength to say “Bye Felica” to my anxiety induced self-sabotage. I have actual plans to sign up for some classes at the closest witch emporium. I’m reading some kick-ass empowering books. I’m giving myself the time and space to write which in turn makes the content I’m creating better. I’m branching out and trying some new ideas which I hope will be fruitful.
Overall I think this is the prime time of 2018. I feel that’s there so much about to happen and so many things about to come into themselves.
But why am I not excited about all this?
What’s keeping me from being a witch in a crystal shop, exploding at the seams with excitement, happiness, and a sense of belonging? What name is this weight tied to my ankle, holding me back?
That weight is called Grief. And let me tell you, Dear Readers, it weighs a fucking ton.
November 3rd is three days after Halloween and a week before my birthday. And it’s the anniversary of the day my son died.
It was 2011 and we were still eating on the candy from trick or treating a few days before. He had been a ninja, I made his sword out of cardboard and hot glue. He had a cold. We all kind of did. He had started kindergarten and had brought home so many new germs. It was cold that year and the leaves and been piling up for a while. Beside the small noses and straight hair, I had passed down my tree and dust allergies too.
But it wasn’t allergies. It wasn’t even really a cold. We didn’t even know what it was when we had to take him to the ER in the early morning hours. All we knew is that he was sick. And then, a few hours later, all we knew was that he wasn’t coming home.
We wouldn’t find out it was Streptococcal Pneumonia for sure until the autopsy came back.
Those are two words that you never should have to associate together in your head. No one here should have to ever hold their child’s autopsy in their hands. It burns it’s reflection onto your eyes and deep, deep into your soul. Every parent who’s ever seen one can attest to the fact that it is not a document you every erase from your memory.
Obviously, this is a very condensed version of our personal tragedy. Every written account of it will be a condensed version. There are words and emotions that don’t have names. And I’m not good enough of a writer to create them.
Reliving this event isn’t centralized to just November. It doesn’t just cast its shade on my birthday and Thanksgiving. The whole three month period of October, November, and December is darkened.
October is the month of anxiety. It settles in my shoulders without my noticing. Each day that passes is a tightening of hands around my neck. I feel that it is what’s keeping me from being able to click my heels with happiness about the rolling of the seasons.
November is the month of nightmares. Each night is a drive-in theater that shows nothing but the worst day of my life. Sometimes, especially around my actual birthday day, there’s a double feature. The other movie that plays is always “A Face A Mother Wouldn’t Even Love”. It’s a biopic about a woman who does everything “right” but gets everything so wrong. My name is always the biggest in its title scene.
December is the ghost of what can never be again. It’s strained conversations over meals with a plate no one eats from. It’s choking on the well wishes and Christmas lights and trying not to cry while watching the parade in the cold.
I want to be excited and take part in the celebrations that come with this season. I want to be excited and carry on with my creepy friends.
And now, seven years later, I think I am doing better. Like I said in the opening, I’m breaking up with my anxiety. I’m exploring things I have been hesitant to before. Will I ever be the happiest pumpkin in the pumpkin patch? No, I won’t.
In the beginning of Mike Shinoda’s music video for “Ghosts,” the screen is black. You can hear him talking before you can see him. He’s sitting in front of a laptop that’s in front of a keyboard. In a rather intimate shot, his voice cracks a bit as he says, “I’ve had enough hard days. It’s like if I wake up and feel good, I shouldn’t feel guilty about having fun, ya know?”
And I feel that. I feel that in my bones. That’s how I think about the fall.
I know I won’t be able to escape this weight on my leg. I won’t be able to shake the leaves off and feel okay standing stripped down like the trees around me. Just like the eventually changing of the seasons, I won’t be able to escape it.
And I don’t want to.
I just want to feel excitement for the end of the year.