For me, the holiday season starts with Halloween. It begins when the costumes and candy and pumpkins begin to fill the shelves and stores.
Along with it, comes that dull aching and longing for the missing pieces of my life that will never be. My daughters.
No pumpkins carved and lit on the doorstep.
Empty chairs at the holiday tables.
Missing handmade ornaments made by tiny hands.
No letters to Santa.
Gratitudes left unspoken because their little voices will never speak.
No cookies or treats will be stirred or decorated by sticky fingers.
And dozens of doorbells will ring one less time on Halloween because my girls aren’t here to push the bell.
Two costumes will remain on the store shelves.
Two plastic pumpkins or brightly color bags will sit empty without candy collected with excited “trick or treats” giggles.
Two caramel covered apples will stay standing on the tray.
Two half-scared, half-excited screams will be missing from the crowd of kids in the haunted house.
There will always be an empty space where they were meant to be.
I will never know their favorite candy treats.
I will never hear them say as I used to, “Here, Mom, I don’t like this one. You can have it cuz you do,” as they dig through their bags of candy.
I will never know if they would eat themselves sick on sugar or if they would be like me and eat just a few, leaving the rest to lay forgotten in a drawer until next Halloween.
I will never know if they would have been ghosts or princesses or superheros or kittens or witches or zombies or what else their little imaginations might have created.
Though I fill this pumpkin-orange and candy-filled holiday with friends and fun and life, every time the doorbell rings and little ones call out, “Trick or treat,” I always think of the silent doorbells and empty steps that would have been filled by my girls.
Halloween will always have two empty spaces where they were supposed to be.
*Originally published on Still Standing Mag.