Julian’s Halloweens

31 Oct

One of the messages that almost every book about grief will tell you is that holidays are hard, especially the first year. And yes, it’s true. Of course that’s true. But, instead of being consumed with sadness because he wasn’t with us tonight, I decided to focus on being grateful for the Halloweens that he was with us.

Tonight, as Oscar was out trick-or-treating with John, I took some time to browse my photo library and revisit the 4 Halloweens of Julian’s too-short life. He always hated getting his picture taken, so his first three Halloweens weren’t documented well. But I’m grateful that he was a good sport last year — the photos I took of him and his brother Oscar are some of my favorites of our whole photo collection.

Here are some of my favorites from last year….

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So here’s what I have to say about holidays: I don’t expect them to be easy. But I don’t expect them to destroy me, either. Holidays, for me, are about celebrating life and those we love. That won’t change just because one of my loved ones isn’t on the planet anymore.

I don’t need grief books to tell me that holidays will be hard — I can decide for myself what holidays will be. I can choose to mourn his absence, or I can choose to celebrate the holidays I had with him. Tonight, I choose the latter.


Posted by on October 31, 2011 in the second six months


6 responses to “Julian’s Halloweens

  1. Anonymous

    October 31, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I had lost the link to your blog and just happened upon it again last week. I spent an hour at work last Thursday reading the entries I had missed. You amaze and inspire me with your positive choices and your willingness to share your experiences and insights. The words are powerful to me. Thanks and I still hope we can grab lunch one of these days as I know Ryan wants to have Oscar over for a play date sometime soon!
    My Best Always,

  2. Lisa

    November 1, 2011 at 7:20 am

    🙂 that made me smile!

  3. Lina Smith

    November 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Hi Emily,
    It’s been almost 2 years now since I lost my sweet Nadia and as much as I miss her and how sad I am, I know just like you that we have to move forward. We had 5 & 1/2 beautiful years with her and we need to honor her life by living just how we did when she was with us, with lots of laughter and happiness. Yes each day is hard and especially the holidays but for her and our other children, we have to celebrate. I have been following your blog from the beginning and I want to thank you because you have helped me see that this is okay to grieve and still live at the same time. I read many grief books, but your thoughts that you have shared had more meaning to me that you should right a book! And I also want to tell you that you have a beautiful family and I can see so much happiness through all the pictures you have posted. Thanks again for sharing and I always look forward to reading your blogs.


  4. Darlene J Lund and Tom

    November 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for the great pictures of Julian and his big brother Oscar. I still wear his bracelet…and pray for children at the cancer center…Blessings to you and your family. Tom and Darlene

  5. beth m

    November 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    LOVE those pics!! Great post, Emily. 🙂

  6. Marianne Carolan

    November 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks for your post about Halloween. It was so fun to see Oscar at our door and to have the chance to see you and John. I felt Julian there, too, and so it is fun to go on your blog and see pictures from last Halloween. I appreciate what you wrote about Halloween and holidays. I got the chance to catch up on your blog. Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts so honestly and consciously. I feel connected to you, your family and Julian when I read your words.


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