Planning for triggers

Last year on trick-or-treat, I conveniently worked late. I knew only seven months after losing my sweet boy that I wouldn’t be ready for the toddlers in costume, the wagons of little ones with tired legs, the chatting with neighbors, the sympathy.

This time last year I was still so heartbroken. I was missing him so deeply, so painfully, and the mere thought of his absence during what was traditionally a playful, fun, social event for our neighborhood, was more than my heart could bear.

This year, a year later, I am stronger, healthier, more prepared to stand tall and talk proudly about my angel. This year, I will be a good neighbor and I will pass out candy happily and admire the little ones dressed up in costume.

I shopped for candy this weekend. I found two pumpkins at a farmer’s market – one white, one orange. I bought teal paint and sprayed the white one to indicate we are an “allergy-friendly” house with non-edible treats. I planned, I prepared, and actually got a little excited for the big night.

Then, at work – my new job where they don’t all know me that well -a coworker asked about my plans. I smiled and told them of the huge basket of candy, the bouncy balls and cars, and my spray-painted pumpkin.

Then, I started to cry. Right at the end of the day, in the middle of the office, in front of my new coworkers.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I shound have a four year old trick-or-treating. This sucks.”

I planned. I prepared. I was even looking forward to it. But some things are just still so hard. I want to be putting him in a minion costume, letting him get high on sugar and stay up too late. I want to be pulling the wagon with the tired kid and dealing with a sleepy, grumpy boy tomorrow morning. I want it. So badly.

But that’s not my reality. Instead, I will look to the sky tonight when everyone has gone iinside to tuck in their babies. I will see the bright moon or a twinkling star, and I will know that’s my baby saying, “Don’t cry, Mommy. I’m right here. And I’m so proud of you for facing the neighbors and handing kids candy, and smiling the whole time. And I will still be here tomorrow, and the next night, and the night after that.”

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