My dear Eddie,

Today is Halloween. I guess you could count this as the first holiday without Chuck. As you know, this year will be a year of firsts. Each first will hold memories, challenging you with poignant reminders of times gone by.

Now let’s talk about Halloween. I don’t know if you remember, but when J.T. was six, we came to your house to trick-or-treat. I was feeling lonely because John was late coming home from work. He had promised to go with us, but could not, so we left on our own.

A few of the neighbor kids joined us as we marched down the streets. Th e costumes they wore lent little warmth on that cold, blowy evening. We all arrived at your house, our arms extended with bags still unfilled.

You welcomed us with such joy! I think you were enjoying this activity as much as the kids were. Your porch light was a shiny beacon of warm light as the storm clouds began to drop hail and snow. We left hurriedly, but happy because of your friendly attitude. Later in the evening, as we poured out candy treasures, I silently thanked you.

Now, years later, living in an older community, we probably will have few trick-or-treaters. I think we miss that fun and excitement of our children. We shared those great times as neighbors . . . who became friends.

When you and I talked on Saturday, you mentioned how lonely the house was this week. You also mentioned how quiet the rooms were, but mostly how you missed your husband. Yet you shared good memories of your pajama days, when the two of you would eat bowls of ice cream in bed while watching movies.

Sounds like you had some great together time while he was adjusting to being sick. I do think that accepting sick is a monumental change, especially in a man’s life. I think they always want to care for us, but when they get sick, we have to care for them. Those were tough days, yet looking back, I am sure you would not have traded them for anything, except his being healthy again.

By the end of our conversation, you sounded a little lighthearted. I hope you enjoyed the rest of your day with your daughter. You will cling to your children more this first year—and they, to you.

I hope you rest well this week. I am thrilled you are going back to school. I think the time away from home will make your days go a bit faster. My prayer is for that.

Until next week, dear friend,


About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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