Six years ago on Halloween, my husband had been dead for just six days. The week following his death was filled with me making the long-distance arrangements for his funeral and then for the local Memorial Service at his school, which was held on Nov. 11th. I continued through the week as best I could, even attending the boys' school Halloween parties. As we left the school entrance after the festivities, I saw a number of fathers entering the building or waiting outside for their children to come out. I was overcome with a realization of profound sadness that my sons would never have such interaction with their father again. It was wrenching and the first time that I really understood what this loss would be like, what we would be forever more missing. Those dads had taken off early from work to take their children Trick or Treating. The excitement and family pride I saw displayed between these dads and their children pulled at my heartstrings.
Later, in the evening I continued the ritual I had with my husband by taking the boys out for Trick or Treating in my parent's neighborhood but my heart really wasn't in it and it was terribly painful to be walking the dark, cold streets without him. But as I did so, I thought of him and kept up the effort for the sake of my sons.
When we got home, I stayed up until 3:00 a.m. putting together photo collage boards to bring to the funeral the next day, Nov. 1. My family insisted on driving us and we all drove in a group caravan style out-of-state. I won't dwell on the funeral details since they involve painful elements from the fact that my husband had a first wife who pulled her own little show. I did the best to ignore such nonsense. In the end, we all got through it and my husband received a fitting local tribute in his hometown. That was his due and it was my duty to hold it together and act dignified.
Afterward, we stopped at a local truckstop for dinner and since it was October, they had some Octoberfest specials. I was struck by the surreal quality of this dinner. Everyone enjoying brats and beer, laughing away. I held my wine glass up and made a toast to my husband.