Has it happened to you also?
This morning, I mean. Did you wake up and check out Facebook or Instagram or Twitter and see what I saw?
Children. Lots of them. Little and big alike…dressed in costumes with smiles that went on for miles. Posts of how much candy they got or how funny they thought the decorations were. Posts with pictures of babies in the most unusual and adorable costumes I’ve seen.
Pictures, pictures, pictures…
Did it sting for you like it did for me? Happy as I was to see those pictures (and beyond grateful to share mine!), they still stung just a little bit.
Especially the ones with a little sweet pea on his or her first or second Halloween…or a nearly four-year old who has finally figured this whole ‘trick-or-treating’ thing out and goes with gusto!
The pictures where there are three brothers, dressed in a theme…those pictures should have been mine.
I know for many who stood at the door, passing out candy and wistfully watching child after child walk away while their own house was unnaturally empty and quiet, I sound ungrateful. I don’t mean to. I am so thankful that I was blessed to have the most dashing and adorable Captain America forging the way against “naughty troublemakers,” (as he says) through our neighborhood. I gave thanks to God as I watched him in his pre-school party and in the car, after, I cried with tears of gratitude for the mere opportunity to finally, finally have made goody-bags for my OWN child’s classroom.
But I also cried a bit for what should have been. What was supposed to be, but wasn’t.
I saw lots of ‘reminders’ about special needs children going door-to-door and being cognizant of their needs. I totally, totally feel that those reminders are necessary and I was glad to see them. I hope people heeded them.
But I felt like there may have needed to be another reminder…reminding people that some of those doors on which they knocked housed heartbroken people.
People who desperately wanted to be moms and dads, and had cried so many tears in the attempts to be so.
People who WERE moms and dads, but their children were not trick-or-treating or sitting in pumpkins for cute pictures.
Their children were dead.
So the morning after a ‘holiday’ that is pretty child-oriented in the celebration is almost harder than the actual day of…because it’s post after post after post reminding me that I’ll never know what Matthew would have wanted to dress as this year and I’ll forever wonder if Trey would have been walking this Halloween or still, barely one, would have been content to be in the carrier on Mama’s chest.
I’m willing to bet I wasn’t the only one wondering yesterday and today. I’m willing to bet there are a lot of women and men who wonder if they will ever get the privilege of walking their own little girl or boy through their neighborhood and hearing how cute the costumes are. I’m willing to bet that there are a multitude of people who look at their Facebook feed today and see the ‘Shadow Children’ (children who are close in age to the age their child would have been, had he or she lived) with longing for their own pictures just like those.
These are the things that the world does not remember…when we who grieve our children are so quick to be told that we are not moving in our grief in a ‘healthy’ way…all it takes some days to remind us of what we’ve lost is a picture. Or lots of them. And while many think that grief is some sort of process that has an end, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t.
Because every single day, for the rest of one’s life, there is a morning after of some sort.