The anticipation of our first Halloween without Grey was much worse than the actual event. As I watched the clock, I went through last Halloween hour by hour; talking with the doctor, visitors, the spinal tap, discharging him without much hope, one dear friend waiting for me in the school parking lot wearing his Ray-Bans to hide his eyes, another dear friend holding a huge lion to welcome Grey home. All these things I will never forget.
As the witching hour approached, the boys got on their costumes and we headed out to our friend's family's Halloween party. She had asked us weeks in advance, knowing what the day could bring. We had such a great time! We also had the usual Morris drama. Ry got hit in the eye with a Velcro Nerf dart. It had to have hurt! He didn't even want to go Trick-or-Treating. But Bill, being the super dad that he is, picked him up and lugged him through the neighborhood.
I did find myself watching all the little ones that passed by, wondering what Grey would have been or how he would have enjoyed the night. I found myself looking for signs from him, and as always, he followed through. Lagging a bit behind the group, I passed a dad holding his little Yoda. I saw him staring at me from a distance, probably at my pumpkin t-shirt. As they walked past me I smiled. Then little Yoda threw me a really loud kiss. It was awesome!
As much as I enjoyed the party, emotionally what happened next made my evening. My best friend has recently become an aunt. It's been wonderful watching her grow. Not having kids of her own, it was hard for her to really know the bond that a mom feels for her baby. But now that she has Thomas, she gets it. Grey has made her appreciate Thomas more, and Thomas, in turn, has made her appreciate Grey and my other boys more. Anyways . . . I get a call from her that evening. I asked her what she was doing, expecting the usual answer of the yearly Halloween party in which she has spent too much to be dressed as Jesus. Instead, she told me she was spending Halloween taking Thomas Trick-or-Treating. My heart melted. She had called me to check in, tell me she loved me, and tell me how much she was missing Grey. It was all I could do to not cry. I told her I'd see her soon and we said our good-byes.
Coming down the home stretch, we hit the last few houses on the block.
"Trick-or-Treat!," I heard the boys yell. A familiar figure with devil horns on her head stood in the doorway of her brother's house. Ry was ecstatic!
"Mom, it's Titi (his name for Ceci)!"
And it was, with her little man Thomas. I walked in the house, warmed by the familiar blanket that is my best friend, always there when I need her most. I watched the joy in her eyes as she introduced me to Thomas. I saw the love in his as he followed her every step as I held him. It was a perfect end to a perfect evening.
Ceci has always told me that she sees so much of Grey in Thomas. Later that evening, Ceci text me, "Did you see Grey in Thomas?"
"I felt him as he kicked his legs while I was holding him," I text back.
Thank you Dunlaps & Hayworths. Thank you Ceci & Thomas. Thank you Grey.