This Mourning


When I was about 16 years old, I was obsessed with Hello Kitty products, and I got this small metal box with the frog {I believe his name was Keroppi} on it. Inside the box, I placed little diaries I had filled with all of my thoughts and memories throughout my teens. I used to also jot random thoughts down on scraps of paper and add these to the box, too.

One day I wrote “This Mourning” on a scrap of paper and placed it in the box. Who knew I would need it today?

This mourning. This morning is Halloween. This means it’s not only my historically favorite day of the year, but it’s also the final day of this entire year that my dad took a breath. One year ago on this date. One final breath. I was so determined to be there with him for his last living moment, but that did not happen. It was his last waking moment I was there for. I fed him breakfast, combed his hair, fixed him up for the day. It was the last time he really interacted with any of us. So this morning {mourning} means that it’s been over a year since I shared a moment with him.

I had a major meltdown during my voice lesson last night when my teacher started playing guitar, but this morning, I’m reminded that Halloween can still be my favorite day of the year! I have feared for an entire year that Halloween will never be the same again – and maybe it won’t – but in some ways it is even more special because it’s a reminder to feel love and gratitude. It’s a reminder that I have an amazing group of friends who have provided me with so much support over the last year, and it reminds me of my dad on Halloween.

Each year, he’d cook up this giant bucket of spaghetti. He’d toss it with oil and add in raisins. He’d sit outside our house and have the neighborhood kids reach their hands in to feel the brains, worms, and bugs. It’s one of the things about him I will treasure forever.I’ve written so many posts over the past year about my dad that are just sitting in my drafts. The eulogy I gave at his service, my first Father’s Day without a dad, how we tossed his ashes in the ocean in the Keys 6 months after he passed. If there’s one thing I want to share, it is this. When my dad was in hospice, there was a woman who volunteered there. She basically acted as an assistant to the nurses and as a grief counselor/support for families. She was probably about 70 years old herself, and she had already lost two husbands, I believe. She shared a very simple sentiment that has stuck with me since. It’s why she continued to volunteer in a place that many would be too weak to visit each day after experiencing loss. She said:

Take your mess and make it a message.

We tend to look at death as this ugly thing we cannot discuss. We can’t remind people of their loss because it’s too sad, and being sad just isn’t welcome. We teach people it’s not okay to be sad. You don’t have to cry. It’s a waste of time or effort or emotion. But you know what? We absolutely can talk about death and we can be sad, but we can also be joyful when we remember the love we have for a person. We can talk logistics {planning for a funeral or burial or cremation, medical expenses} or we can talk about the great times we shared with that individual or we can even talk about some of the bad times. Birth, life, death… discuss it all, appreciate it all. It’s the only life we can continue to give that person forever.

“This is my message to you.”



About Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Dr. Carrie Wells is a college instructor, blogger, wife, and work-at-home mother to two children, Lydia {age 8} and Bryce {age 6}. Carrie earned her doctorate in Special Education in 2008. After becoming a mother in 2009, Carrie began blogging as Huppie Mama to share her passions for cooking, crafting, beautifying, and her family. In 2016, she rebranded as Our Potluck Family, and her husband Richard became a regular contributor.

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