Halloween Grief Thoughts

Halloween is easily one of my most favorite holidays.  And it’s beyond true that I super love candy.  It’s like my kryptonite!  I’ve always loved it and pretty confident I always will.  Plus, throw in my kiddos all dressed up and I mean, I’m undone.  Sadly, I am rocking a killer case of bronchitis and it put me down for Halloween again this year.  As always, Josh Kelley to the rescue.  To say I was bummed, was a complete understatement.  So many tears over Halloween…definitely a lower holiday on the holiday totem pole…but alas, it was quite sucktastic and tear filled this year.

(Thank you pinterest.)

I took approximately zero photos of the kids in their costumes…Harper was a witch (3rd year in a row), Hudson, Solomon & Amon we’re all ninjas and our littlest was Poppy from Trolls.  I did manage to drag my bronchitis ridden body to Kroger to snag some eyeball ice cubes, $4 discounted candy corn lights, Sprite and pumpkin & ghost peeps.  Harper reminded Josh that I was sick last year on Halloween too.  I took a little look back and cried my eyes out reading THIS POST.  I remember how excited we we’re about Everett.  I remember how excited we we’re about every little bit of movement in our paperwork.  We could not get to him fast enough.  Just makes me want to vomit.

It’s incredibly hard looking back on last year at this time because everything is covered in the longing and dreaming and hoping and wanting and chasing of Everett.  Our family could not wait to get to him.  We talked about it daily and longed for him and honestly, every one of those dreams feel shattered and like an incredibly cruel joke now.

We went to trunk-or-treat at our church and driving there I stared out the window at the cemetery where his little body is buried.  I thought about the 100s of times we passed that cemetery with him in our car…chatting and singing and just being his fun little lively self.  And now, his car seat is no longer in our car and his body is in the ground.  His little life missing from ours.  After we finished at trunk-or-treat we drove back home and past the cemetery again and I broke down into the hardest silent sob.   He would have loved this holiday!  The kids we’re singing loud to Macklemore’s Glorious song and I sat there in the dark and cried.  This is not how it was suppose to be…I just know it.  Everett should have lived.  This was not part of the plan for him to live a full life.  He should have been dressed up as Mickey Mouse or a Minion…his faves…and eating an ungodly amount of candy while singing loudly with his siblings, headed home after a fun night.

And there we all sat.  Wildly different people, living a wildly different life than we could have imagined 3 months ago.  It feels like Everett got ripped off.  That our kids got ripped off.  Josh Kelley and I talk all the time about forget about us and our feelings and our grief, but Everett and our other children…it just pisses me straight off that his life got cut so short and at the loss they feel and walk through daily.  And while my head knows Everett is with Jesus and that’s great, grand and wonderful, it sure doesn’t feel so great, grand and wonderful right now while my arms long to hold his sweet little body, stroke his hair and kiss his cheeks.

Two highlights provided by others in the midst of our crappiest Halloween:

1) When an instagram follower asked me what I thought Everett would have wanted to be on Halloween.  It was the simplest of questions, but I felt the intention and purpose and the recognition behind it.  I felt seen and loved.  It was easy and thoughtful.

And 2) When my friend Leah text me after our trunk-or-treat and told me how good it was to see us and to see the kids enjoying themselves.

Again, really doing grief with someone is not disappearing, it’s not avoiding the hard or awkward conversations because it makes you feel weird or uncomfortable.  Instead it’s choosing to be with those who are hurting from loss or trauma or pain.  It’s choosing to see them, acknowledge them and really walking with them on the long road they have ahead.  It’s a simple, “Hey, I know today really sucks for you guys and I’m so sorry.”

Here’s to reaching out beyond ourselves and loving those who are hurting around us.  Here’s to kindness and empathy because those are the real game changers.  Here’s to making it through the next day, the next week, the next month and the next holiday in line.


  1. Belinda brady says:

    He would have been a donkey pinata! I know you are grieving and I pray it eases as days go by, clearing your good, painless thoughts of him to rise to the top and be happy, grateful and joy-filled memories. Xo

  2. I dont know what you are feeling. I cant imagine. I do know that my heart is sad with yours and I have never met your sweet boy. Love and hugs to you.

  3. When I see your little guy I can’t help but think that him and my Dutch are probably buddies up in heaven. Your guy reminds me of my guy. I don’t mean to take away your grief by sharing mine but I just can’t help but relate to you. I totally understand the anger and the head and heart feeling different things and thoughts. It just plain sucks.

  4. This:

    It’s choosing to see them, acknowledge them and really walking with them on the long road they have ahead.

    Such a powerful reminder. We don’t like sitting in the tension of the now and not yet, in the tension of uncertainty, pain, and suffering. But God calls us to mourn with those who mourn. Not pray for the suffering to go away. Not speak platitudes. Not hurry up the process. But like you said, walk the road with the suffering. Just as Jesus did.

    Much love to you, mama, as you and your family continue through this hard grief journey for your sweet boy Everett.

  5. Prayers and love for you as you manage to get through another milestone with Everett in heaven. I have no words except to say my continued prayers are with you and your family. ❤️

  6. I pictured him being a rainbow colored donkey! I was driving to the airport the other day and you all came to mind about how much this all sucks! Why couldn’t our prayers for healing have been answered? Love to you all!

  7. Kristin Chadwick says:

    Laura, I’ve been a long time follower. Gosh it’s been something like 7-8 yrs now. It’s been so long, I feel like I’ve watched your kids grow up before my eyes. When I first found you, I felt you were a kindred spirit. You know the likes that Anne of Green Gables speaks of? Being a past school teacher and reader I know you know! I was so impressed with all that you did for your family and how you were such a shining light for Jesus. I loved that you let me peek into your fun little life!! When I found you, you were waiting and planning for Amos. At first you guys didn’t even know who he was yet, and you all were so surprised when you found out what a little guy he was going to be. I have watched you do grief before. And the first time I really could relate, because I have lost my Daddy quickly and suddenly like you had lost your mother. But I know it’s way different to lose your child. And I won’t pretend to understand or try to say well meaning but mean things to you. Because in the last 3 years I have watched 4 other friends bury their babies. And as much as it has SUCKED to watch my friends grieve, it was a time of grief for me too. I don’t think anything in my life could have prepared me to do this grief stuff. It’s not fun, not even in the slightest!!! Because at the same time I watched my friends grieve, I have also grieved the loss of my aunt (she was more of a mother to me than my mom), a best friend since the 7th grade, and three other friends also passed as well as a best friends little brother (who was like my little brother too) and another friends little sister (whom I had known since her birth). I used to think the tribe I found the most supportive was my adoptive/foster/special needs momma tribe, but now…now it’s my grief tribe. They’re the only ones who know, some days I just need to not go anywhere. I just need to cry, or draw, or be with someone.

    One of the two friends who lost a sibling turned me onto an amazing podcast. It’s called, “Terrible, Thanks for asking.” It’s by a lady who lost her husband to cancer, and two weeks before that she lost a baby and then shortly after her husband passed, then her father also passed. She brutally honest, and she cusses, and she’s a breath of fresh air when I really needed it. That it’s OK, to not be OK!! And dang it, I can love and miss someone so much it hurts at the same time. That it’s alright to love and be angry at God at the same time. Because death isn’t of God!! So yeah, thanks for being REAL!! Because fake, well fake is fake and it truly SUCKS!! And I love that you share it all!! And even though I have never ever met you or any of your wonderful amazing kids in real life, I LOVE YOU and them LOTS!!

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