We have missed Joe so much this Halloween! I tried to fight the grief and tell myself a lot of time had passed and focus on the bad times we shared together instead of the good ones, but it didn’t help. Much.
Four years ago this October, Joe proudly wore his Sarah Palin button and walked around shouting “HE CAN’T” at our annual Halloween party. If he were alive, I’m pretty sure he would be walking around our Halloween party yelling, “HE DIDN’T” this year. Cole wonders who his dad would have voted for in this election and wishes he could talk about politics with him. I tell him that I wish that too (not really, of course).
Cole left for school this morning dressed up as another kid in his high school. He wore dreadlocks and borrowed the other kid’s clothes. The other kid is Black, but Cole kept his white skin tone and told everyone he was white Isaac. He won a prize for the most original costume. When Cole was younger, he would come up with outrageous costumes for Joe and I to make for him. He never doubted that we could turn him into The Whole World or a Mighty Oak Tree. Joe and I agreed that kids introduce you to talents you never knew you had, and we tackled the costumes together. I would plan the costume and buy all the supplies, and Joe would sew and glitter it together. When we started to fight over the placement of the bird’s nest on the Might Oak Tree, our young sapling piped up beneath his leaf hat and reminded us that he was just a pretend oak tree. We laughed so hard and realized that we might be taking ourselves a little too seriously.
One of our lingering traditions was carving pumpkins, but this year Cole’s heart wasn’t into it—too many memories of gutting and carving them with his dad. I will never forget walking into the kitchen and witnessing my four year old with a butcher’s knife held above his head ready to plunge it into the pumpkin Joe was holding for him. Joe was explaining, with all seriousness, where he should make the first cut. I stood quietly watching, so in love with them both.
I handed out candy tonight while Cole went to an impromptu Halloween party. Scary stuff. Joe was a great worrywart; it’s such a shame he missed the teen years. I have always been a better reassurer than a worrier, but after Joe dropped dead in our shower, I found that worrying comes much more naturally to me now. I poured myself a glass of old wine to sip and easy my nerves, but then I decided I didn’t deserve to miss Joe, to worry and suffer old—not in a good way—wine, so I went back to Coke.
Imagine just played on the radio, the song we played at Joe’s memorial service, so I will take that as a sign that he is missing me or his martini shaker . . . or perhaps both, although not necessarily in that order.
Halloween sucks without Joe. But on the upside, I have the whole candy bowl to myself.