The Scariest Halloween Trick…

Want to hear something really scary this Halloween?  7 children will die TODAY from pediatric cancer.  Pediatric cancer doesn’t pause for holidays or any other day of the year.  Today 46 more children will be diagnosed, and 2,555 children will have celebrated their last Halloween last year.  2,555 children will not be wearing costumes this year, or trick-or-treating, and all of their parents will look back on old photos of them in costumes from past Halloweens and wish things were different.  That’s right – since Halloween 2012, 2,555 children have died from cancer.

THAT’S scary.  Actually it’s more than scary.  It’s a nightmare.  One that we bereaved parents never wake up from.

I look at all holidays differently since Tanner passed.  I just don’t have the same excitement.  I don’t want to celebrate without him.  Chase is getting older though, and this year,  he told me about houses that were decorated for Halloween which he saw on his bus ride home from school.  So, this year, we dragged out the Halloween decor from the basement, and put up some tacky pumpkin and ghost lights.  That wasn’t enough, of course… Chase needed spider webs.  Yesterday I put some spiderwebs up on our bushes and when the school bus pulled up, I could actually hear Chase squeal through the closed bus door “awesome! spiderwebs!!!”.  Chase is insanely afraid of spiders, so he cautiously approached the webs, examining them for spiders.  Once he saw they were all clear he danced around the front lawn singing “oh yeah! we have spiderwebs!”.  It truly is the little things.  I saw it.  The joy in his eyes.  Over $1.99 spiderwebs.  Chase deserves them.  And so, I keep moving forward, with no other choice.

Chase has an amazing bond with Tanner.  He was only 18 months old when Tanner passed, and most of what he knows of Tanner is through how we talk about him, tell stories of things he did… When we give Chase a toy or an outfit that was Tanner’s we make sure he knows it was his.  He always says “oh, Tanner is sharing this with me”.  I love that.  I love that it’s sharing and not that he left it for him.  Because in Chase’s mind, this is how it’s always been… Tanner is his brother, but he isn’t here.

The other night I was taking Chase to a doctor’s appointment, and as we were driving past Tanner’s cemetery, as we often do because it’s so close to our house, Chase said “Momma, where does Tanner live?”.  Heavy question for a 3 year old on a Tuesday night.  With a billion tears welled up in my eyes, I responded “Well, Tanner lives in Heaven, but he is always around us”.  Chase pointed to the sign in front of the cemetery and said “oh, does that say Heaven”?  He’s a smart kid that Chase…. I have a feeling the questions are only going to get more difficult as the years go on.

So, tonight Chase will be trick-or-treating.  I think he’s going to be Ironman, but since he still hasn’t made up his mind, he may also be Jake from the Neverland Pirates.  He can’t wait to get lots of candy, and he will be with his future wife, Lily, my bestie’s daughter.  I’m so glad they will be going trick-or-treating together, it will be a wonderful distraction.  But it will also be, as with every holiday, a painful reminder of who’s missing.  He’s always missing.  And his absence is always felt.

In the song “Ronan” by Taylor Swift, she sings “it’s about to be Halloween, you could be anything you wanted if you were still here”… I wonder what Tanner would want to be.  My perfect, beautiful, sweetest little treat.  He was a monkey his first Halloween,  Superman his second (right after his diagnosis) and Batman, with Chase as his sidekick Robin for his 3rd and last Halloween.  What I wouldn’t give to have my family whole again.

Happy Halloween everyone, and when your kids ask you for “just one more piece of candy” tonight, let them have it.  For Tanner.  For Lexie.  For Jack, Jessica, Nicky, Tati, Ty, Ronan and all the other children who won’t get to go trick-or-treating this year.

Love,
Tanner’s Momma

Tanner & Chase's only Halloween together, 2010.  The dynamic duo forever.

Tanner & Chase’s only Halloween together, 2010. The dynamic duo forever.

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Responses:

  1. Love to you momma – this life is so unfair – I’m forever sorry about what happened to Tanner. I love how Chase remembers his brother – that’s a testament to you and your husband as parents. I know the questions will only get tougher as he gets older, but as a family you will figure out what to do. Thinking of Tanner, Ty, Riley, Ronan and all the beautiful children lost…and all the beautiful children still fighting.

    Comment by dtine33 on November 1, 2013 at 5:53 pm

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