How Sweet It Is: Rediscovering Halloween after Loss

By |2018-10-31T10:00:10+00:00October 31st, 2018|Parenting After Loss|1 Comment

There’s fewer things better than going from “When will we ever…” to “We finally get to…” when it comes to life after loss. Some of these are huge, from getting matched for an adoption, to getting pregnant again, to parent a living child. Most others, however, are the small day-to-day, sometimes mundane activities that most wouldn’t think twice about, changing dirty diapers and getting up in the middle of the night, to seeing that first smile and enjoying each milestone along the way. Halloween falls into the latter category.

Contrary to popular opinion, I’m not a big fan of Halloween. Outside of dressing up as the “Erin Beanie Baby” during that craze, I struggle to think of creative costumes, and I hate anything scary or being scared. That said, I always thought that when I had children, it’d turn into some kind of idyllic event. Going through so many losses did not change my opinion. In fact, as I’ve written before, it sullied my mind even further about this holiday.

Bad Planning for a Planner

Aaron and I may not have helped our cause. Just weeks after losing Sarah and Benjamin, we thought it’d be a good idea to walk through our Chicago neighborhood and watch the kiddos trick-or-treating. We lived in a family-filled neighborhood that lined a huge boulevard of massive old houses and apartment buildings. This particular Halloween was unseasonably warm, so the boulevard was packed. Around the corner from us was “Crazy Halloween House,” a gigantic old-school mansion that looked like Pinterest on crack. The owners of “CHH” were known for dressing up and giving out full-sized candy bars, so the line to climb the spooky stairs was often down the block. We walked along, watching parents alongside their squealing or screaming kids, and were filled with envy and sadness. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.

A Trick Turning into a Treat

The first Halloween after C was born shifted my mindset from dread to anticipation. We turned thoughts to what crazy costume we could put this unsuspecting five month old in. After much exploration and laughs, we decided on a monkey. After all, his room theme was rock and roll monkey, so he may as well play the part. Seeing him dressed and looking ridiculously cute was pretty great. But it was more than that. What really did it for me was being able to meet up with some friends and take him trick-or-treating.

Of course at 5 months, he didn’t know what was going on, but Aaron and I did. It was one of those experiences that we had dreamed of, and after a while, wondered if it would ever happen. We walked the city blocks that evening as a part of the excitement, not as outsiders looking in. Over time, and as our family has grown, we still acknowledge these moments. Events that many take for granted, we still experience in disbelief and gratitude.

This afternoon, we’ll once again meet up with friends, and take out two Batman’s and one Scully (aka, Sully from Monster’s Inc.) Our superheroes will bound down the street, pumpkins in hand, giddy with excitement about the next doorbell to ring and the treats that await. Our monster will waddle along, shrieking with joy, unaware of why, simply happy in being present. And Aaron and I will follow in awe, thankful for being included.

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About the Author:

Erin Kuhn-Krueger
Erin Kuhn-Krueger is a 5x miscarriage survivor (including a daughter, Baby Krueger, at 16 weeks 6 days in April 2010), and a 2x stillbirth survivor (twins, Sarah and Benjamin, at 20 weeks 5 days in October 2012). After her 4th loss, Erin created the blog and resource portal, Will CarryOn, for those experiencing baby loss, and learning to live and survive life after loss. She writes from the heart, touching on oft-taboo subjects, showcasing the struggles, determination and hope that have kept her (and her husband) together, and moving forward. She believes the more people talk about baby loss, the less alone those walking a similar path will feel. Erin received a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from Drake University where she studied advertising and marketing. She uses her personal experiences and marketing background to shape her advocacy work and community outreach in the adoption, loss and infertility arena. In addition to her writing, and speaking at support groups and conferences, Erin also works as the Community Outreach Director for The Blossom Method, a center providing therapeutic support and counseling for infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, baby loss, pregnancy after loss, postpartum depression, and more. Erin and her husband, Aaron, live in the suburbs of Chicago, and are parents of three sons: C, by way of domestic adoption (May 2013), and J (August 2014) and E (September 2017), after successfully carrying two pregnancies to term. You can find her on Twitter, and follow Will CarryOn on Twitter and Facebook.

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  1. […] over at Pregnancy After Loss Support […]

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