Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Believing it will be easier

SATURDAY, October 2 – A lazy Saturday morning: time to go through the weekend papers at my leisure. Great piece in the Volkskrant Magazine, where columnist Hanna Bervoets takes a light-hearted look at Halloween costumes.

She depicts the excitement of choosing a costume as well as the current themes she is trying to capture in this year’s get-up. I can’t help laughing at her descriptions and I’m half way through the column when suddenly I stop. What Bervoets is describing so comically is exactly what Jennifer used to do. In September she was already getting excited about the Halloween Party, which was a tradition for us: first in the States, then London and later on in Amsterdam.

Together we put together the A list, people we definitely wanted to invite. No A list without a B list, of course. It contained the names of people we regarded as friends, but who would not be too sorely missed if they weren’t among the guests. These invitations invariably gave rise to passionate discussions lasting several weeks.

For Jenn the real fun was preparing for the big day. In our first year in Amsterdam she went as Super Girl, complete with a mini-skirt in bright red – ditto with the pumps. And a cape, of course. Last year she was planning to go as Medusa. Her friend J had gotten hold of a costume in London. The actual choice had been preceded by long deliberations and consultations with me and several other friends.

Our last party was cancelled and this year I had totally forgotten about Halloween until I read Bervoets’ newspaper article. It seems unlikely that we’ll be celebrating the day. We’re busy enough organizing the Memorial Concert on the 24th.

That day marks the fact that the first year is behind us. We’ve already experienced everything once. Halloween will be the first holiday following this milestone.  I’m willing to believe that after this month things will start getting easier, but the shock that went through me as I read Bervoet’s column bodes ill for my peace of mind. Nothing is ever truly past: I’m not so stupid as to dispute that.

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