Today, October 30th, is National Candy Corn Day. Gosh if my mom had known about National Candy Corn Day she would have made it a family holiday. She was so funny about her candy. She hid it all through the house. Not sure who she was hiding it from because she was the only one that liked what we called “yucky candy.” She loved candy corn, fruit slices, peeps, lemon anything, and of course she did like chocolate but she didn’t hid that for some reason. We found bags of candy and little stashes all over the house after she died.
For Halloween I sent my sister Candy Corn cookies from a company called Dancing Deer. They are all natural (okay a little stretch there with the healthy cookies) but seem to be a little better nutritionally, and they taste good. my friend Alyson Stanfield sent my mom a box of cookies from the company when mom stayed with me for a month in 2005. She died a month later. It was great to have her with us but I tell you I have an appreciation for caregivers. It took all my time. The role reversal was the hardest part. I ended up changing my mom’s diapers and giving her a bath – not to mention trying to keep her from eating herself into a diabetic coma (although not sure why it mattered) and watching her so she wouldn’t fall. When she stayed with us my youngest Yorkie Surrobbie would not leave her side and I couldn’t figure out why she was so attached. Later I realized my mom was sharing all her goodies with her! Come to find out Surrobbie loves candy corn too!
Through my experience with my mom I realized that the difficult part about death is being left behind. The person that dies goes on to a better place (at least that is my belief) but the survivors are left behind to try and pick up the pieces. It took me a year and a half to recover from the loss of my parents (they both died in 2005 seven months apart) and the death of my dog Muffassa in December of the same year. I grossly underestimated the impact of the loss.
If you are suffering from a loss don’t try to go it alone. I was so fortunate to have loving and supportive friends and family. My sister and I talked almost every day leading up to the death of our parents and for the following year. We still talk frequently. My mom died two years ago today and we called each other just to talk about how we were feeling and to remember our mom. My sister and her family went to Outback Steakhouse in my mom’s memory. That was one of her favorite places to eat. I carved a pumpkin in her honor and had a few moments of quiet time to reflect on all the memories.
There are many support groups for grief and many great books. One of the best books I read during the process was Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler Ross. What I like most about this book is the concept of the Grief Process. It is amazing how accurate she has come to labeling the steps one goes through.
Another good book that was specific to losing one’s parents is Losing Your Parents, Finding Your Self – The Defining Turning Point of Adult Life by Victoria Secunda. A good resource for what everyone will eventually go through.
My friend Alyson Stanfield suggested I create a shrine to my mom to honor her. This is a concept that comes from the holiday The Day of the Dead celebrated by many cultures. Growing up we celebrated All Saints Day. I am going to do something that will honor my mom. For me it seems like the thing to do.
If you missed National Candy Corn Day don’t despair. October 31st is National Caramel Apple Day! So enjoy and throw in a few pieces of candy corn just for the fun of it.