You are currently viewing Episode 43 – Halloween After Loss

Episode 43 – Halloween After Loss

Halloween can be challenging when you have experienced the death of your baby.  The imagery can be triggering and the reminders of what you are missing are everywhere in this kid-centric holiday.  But I’ve got some tips for you so you can find a way to handle all of it, and even enjoy this season. 

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Music provided by ZingDog / Pond5

Photo by Damien Creatz on Unsplash


Hey ladies, what is up? Today? We’re talking about Halloween, and I think the real question is, Whether you are allowed to trick or treat or not, where you live.

Have you broken into a bag of Halloween candy yet? I bought two huge bags of candy at Costco and I thought they were safe, but someone in my house decided they couldn’t wait a few weeks, so I had to do a better job of hiding it and. The best part about finding a little opened bag is that I know it wasn’t my little kids.

I’m pretty sure it was one of the ones who was old enough to know better because they were smart enough to hide the wrappers in the back of the pantry. But hey, if you have been sampling those peanut butter cups, that’s okay too. Our local news station had a Halloween bracket challenge last year, and it was so funny seeing the winners as they went through like a hundred different candies down to the best Halloween candy.

So the worst Halloween candy in my book has to be probably regular Tootsie Rolls or Candy Corn. I cannot eat them. I think candy corn is super pretty and I have lots of candy corn decorations, but yeah. Also anything blue raspberry or watermelon, because blue raspberry isn’t even a flavor, so don’t try to change my mind on that.

My top choices are probably green Laffy Taffy and Reese’s Peanut butter cups and milk duds. Oh, and roasting the pumpkin seeds after we carve our pumpkins. It’s so good. If you’ve never done it, you have to try it. There’s lots of recipes on the internet. The best way I’ve found is. You clean the seeds and then you boil them in salt water and then you put them in the oven just to crisp them up.

It’s really good. It’s a lot of work, but my family loves them and we love them. It’s something that I remember my mom doing with us when we would carve pumpkins. So yeah. What are your go-to choices for Halloween Candy? I’d love to know. I’ll have to ask on Instagram, so if you’re not following me on Instagram, it’s Amy do Smooth Stone’s coaching, so get over there.

We have lots of great discussions. Honestly, I love Halloween. Well, I love happy Halloween. I was never much into the scary stuff, but I love the pumpkins and the bats and the spiders and the decorations. But I remember my first Halloween after Lauren died, I was still in a very tender place and it was just another reminder of things she wasn’t doing.

I carved a pumpkin for her along with all her other kids, and I missed her a lot. That was so, so important to me to have. A Lauren Pumpkin. I remember that ache. I felt doing that family tradition without her. So today I wanna talk a bit about things that might be hard and what you can do to take care of your heart if it’s feeling a little bit extra tender.

This year, I. There are a lot of images of death around Halloween. We’ve got skeletons, gravestones, blood, zombies, murderers, evil doctors, and it’s supposed to be in the spirit of fun and of scaring yourself on purpose. But after death has touched you personally, it can seem like it’s going way too far.

Creepy dolls and even images of dead babies can be especially disturbing. So what do you do in the moment when you are confronted with these visuals? First, take a breath and notice what’s happening in your body. Take a minute to ground yourself by tapping into your other senses. What can you feel, hear, taste, and touch?

You may react viscerally before you can even notice what you’re thinking. So calm down that automatic response first. Then you can notice what you’re thinking. I remember really wondering why people even thought this was okay and wishing they would be a little bit more sensitive, but me thinking they should be more sensitive only leads to me having the result of being more sensitive about what they are doing.

I completely give my power away, so I have to notice that it’s not the Chucky doll that is the problem. It’s my thoughts about it, it’s my experiences coloring how I see things that probably didn’t bother me at all before. So just giving yourself compassion and understanding is so important. Of course, you’re more sensitive to images of death right now.

You’ve seen it firsthand in your life. Of course, you always have a choice of removing yourself from any situation where you don’t feel comfortable, turn it off, leave. It doesn’t even matter your reason. You just get to decide. Something else that can be really hard is being reminded of the things you are not doing, like picking out costumes, helping with class parties, or trick or treating.

What are you missing most right now? What do you notice your eyes wandering to when you go shopping? Some of my friends on Instagram mentioned that they would wonder what their little guy would be wearing this year. We can wonder what they would be like and imagine them all excited and hopped up on sugar.

And when you find yourself here, it’s okay to hold space for that wish of your heart for the ache that comes. That’s grief. That’s living after loss. Let it be there. The more comfortable you can get with those waves of grief, the more they start to settle down and eventually just become twinges in your heart.

Or they will even bring a little smile to the corner of your lips as you imagine who she would be this year. Sometimes we aren’t just mourning this year, but we are looking ahead to a future of what they will never do. It’s okay that these thoughts pop into our mind, but this is our brain projecting things that it doesn’t fully understand and just making it worse.

I don’t think it’s useful to use our imagination this way. Yes, it’s true. Our baby will never go trick or treating. That’s fact. But the imagination part is when you think about how awful it is, and a huge swell of overwhelming sadness comes your brain, takes how you feel today and assumes it’s how you’ll feel for the rest of your life.

But it’s probably wrong about that. This is where you get to choose on purpose if you are gonna spend your time and energy thinking thoughts that do not serve you in any way. Another thing that might come up is jealousy. Seeing other little ones the same age as our baby would be seeing cute pregnant pumpkin bellies and announcements and kids everywhere the same age as ours would be.

Jealousy is something that is pretty natural to humans, but we have to look at where it is coming from. It usually stems from our brains constantly being in competition with others and in a scarcity mode. This was probably very useful to us when we were living in caves because it kept us always sizing up threats and working to get what we needed to survive in a religious sense.

I think it comes from what we call the natural man, the more base and fall inside of our personalities, and it’s something we are often encouraged to overcome. It’s even in the 10 Commandments, right? That we shouldn’t covet what our neighbor has. I want to offer you a way of looking at this that should help you a lot.

I want you to really try to embrace this and test it out for yourself. When we are jealous, it always comes from what we are thinking, which is usually some variation of I want what she has, and it assumes that she has it better than us. It assumes that there is only a certain amount of things to go around and that we are just coming up short after our own baby has died.

Our brain is hyper-focused on other people’s kids because that is what we are missing. Just like when you break up, all you can see is happy couples everywhere. Or if you want a certain car, you just see them all over the road. Understanding that this is how the brain works is the first step to overcoming the jealousy.

We also need to understand that our brain fills in the gaps in her story. So all we can see is her cute baby, and we assume she has a great house, great husband, tons of friends. Her life is perfect and ours is terrible, but intellectually we know that is wrong. We’ve all learned the lesson personally that you never ever know what someone is going through.

So I want you to lean in and try to love. I’m not saying that you should just be happy for someone who has what you are missing, but it’s much harder to be jealous when we can be a bit more objective and loving. Something that helped me af a lot after I lost Lauren was this thought. I’m glad they have their baby.

I just want mine. In that way, I was acknowledging my own pain, but I also acknowledge that it’s okay for other people to have living children. In fact, that’s actually what I want. That’s what we all want, that all the babies would live, right. And just because someone else has a cute baby Bumblebee doesn’t mean their life is perfect.

Understanding that every human you see has a life that is 50% tough and 50% great will help you shift your perspective. And getting to know people on a deeper level usually reveals this for us. But if it’s just a lady you see at Target, then use your imagination to come up with the rest of her story to round her out.

It will feel a lot better than letting the green-eyed monster take over. The last thing that can be tough at Halloween is if you had this season in your plans and then everything changed. If your due date was near October, or you had already been planning family costumes, or you had a costume, you were saving for the baby and now no one is wearing it.

Having this conversation actually reminded me that I was thinking I would have a baby right before Halloween with River. We were due in early November, but I figured we would induce before that because of my history. But then we lost him at 14 weeks and I remembered that we had this cute little pee pod costume I had been saving since my oldest daughter was born.

And I was thinking that our little newborn would fit in it since none of my other kids were the right size for it. If any of your plans have changed, especially if you are in that year of firsts. I’m sorry. It’s just hard and sad and it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to miss what you dreamed would happen, but it’s also okay to ease into allowing your life to be just as it is.

Your reality is that you thought this October would look a certain way, but you were wrong, and so now you have to reconcile the truth because fighting reality always brings up a lot of extra pain, and you don’t need extra pain on top of grief. For those of you who are a little farther out, I give the same advice.

Start noticing the ways you’re struggling against the truth of your life. It’s like you’re punching yourself in the face. But I’m here to tell you gently to stop. Put your hand down. Your baby was never going to be here this Halloween. Your child was never going to be a Jedi or a Power Ranger. It wasn’t ever in the plan that the universe had for him.

How do I know that? Because that is what happened. It’s reality. It’s okay to stop telling the story where he was supposed to. I know it sounds sad and like giving up, but it’s truly the most freeing, loving thing you can do. Let your baby be where he is and you be present where you are. Allow the grief.

Absolutely. But stop fighting, mama. Put the gloves down and breathe. Your energy is your power. Let’s use it for you instead of against you. If you need some help figuring out how to do this, we’ve got a lot of holidays coming up that might be triggering for you not to mention family gatherings. You may be dreading because of that one sister-in-law or all the new babies you have to see, or maybe you are not going to be able to be with family and it’s breaking your heart.

You don’t have to struggle alone this season. I’ve got you. My superpower is meeting you where you are and showing you a different way of coping. With all of this, all you have to do is sign up for a consult call where you get a safe space to vent everything that’s tough right now, and you’ll leave the call feeling lighter and more hopeful that you can not just get through the next few months, but you might actually enjoy them a little bit.

2020 has been rough, but you can finish it out much smoother with a coach. There’s a link in the show notes right to my calendar, or you can go to smooth stones and click on the sign up for a consult call button. I’m sending all my love to you and hoping that you have a happy Halloween. It is possible.

I want you guys to know that seven years after burying Lauren, and four and a half years after saying goodbye to River Halloween doesn’t break my heart. I am able to enjoy it with my kids and live my life. I miss my babies, but I’m okay and you can be okay too. And wherever you are in your grief, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.

You’re not doing anything wrong, and my heart goes out to you wherever you are. Be compassionate with yourself, and I wish you all the best. We’ll see you next time.

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