The soul I miss every Halloween

Halloween is one of those holidays that kind of sneaks up on me every year. This year, my husband and I are going to be The Professor and Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island. I read recently that there was real charisma between the two actors but they apparently weren’t single and honored their relationships. Definitely a different era than the one in which we live. Sadly.

Margaret is planning on being Jake from State Farm. We got the khaki pants and red polo shirt. Not sure how she’s going to pull off the makeup for that. But yesterday, she attended a Master Class on Halloween makeup at school. Here’s Margaret with a bullet wound after being shot from the back of her head. She did a pretty good job, don’t you think?

Mags makeup
Margaret’s makeup masterpiece

For me, Halloween is the time of year when I think about All Soul’s Day which is on November 2 – a Catholic holiday that commemorates those who have died. The soul I think about this time of year especially is my grandma. She’s one of the main characters in the book I wrote and published on Amazon last year called Bequeathed available in eBook or paperback. (Shameless plug, I know.) The main character is my grandpa. For those of you who click through, that’s him on the cover – handsome, isn’t he?

Margaret’s middle name is Lucy – which was my grandma’s name. Grandma Lucy came to live with me when my grandpa died. I was 7 years old. We lived together until I moved away to college 11 years later. And we remained very close. We also shared a birthday for 32 years.

Shana and Grandma Lucy a few months before she died

Grandma Lucy got very sick a few months before I got married and though she thankfully made it to my wedding,

Gma Sean Shana wedding
The Victorian in Santa Monica, CA

she died two months later. A few days before she slipped into a coma, Grandma Lucy told my mother that I was pregnant. My mom told her she was crazy, that if I’d been pregnant, I would have told both of them. And I would have. Sick and dying in her hospice bed, Grandma Lucy was emphatic that I was pregnant. My mom just shook her head and placated her.

My grandma died on a Thursday, a week after she’d slipped into the coma. I’d made the trek from OC to LA to visit her even though she was not conscious. I still wanted to see her, touch her, talk to her.  My mom and I were feuding, of all things, about the funeral which was to be in her hometown of Avonmore, Pennsylvania. We went to run an errand at my mom’s house and returned to the nursing home an hour later to find that she’d left us for good, just a peaceful look on her face. The plan was to fly her back home over the weekend and have the funeral a few days later.

The next morning, I took a pregnancy test. What the heck, right? Grandma Lucy was right!

Our tip-off that Margaret was on her way!

I was pregnant! (Yes, we captured that glorious bathroom moment.) Just the week before I’d been in my doctor’s office complaining that I was having fertility issues. After two months of trying I didn’t get any sympathy from the doctor, friends, nor family. (When I ended up having secondary infertility after having Margaret and having multiple miscarriages, I wished to God I could travel back in time and bitch slap myself.)

I didn’t tell my mom that I was pregnant until I arrived at LAX a few days later to fly out with her to Pennsylvania. I wanted to give her some good news after she lost her momma. I must have been suspiciously excited on that somber travel day because when my mom saw me, she said I looked like I swallowed a rabbit. (Nope, just feeling the positive outcome of having behaved like one.)

I like to think that Grandma Lucy and Margaret passed through some pre-birth/after-death universe together. That they saw each other and thought, “That person looks oddly familiar to me.” Maybe shared a laugh over a tall Mocha Latte.

I see my Grandma Lucy in both of my daughters. In Margaret, I see her inner strength and can-do attitude. Grandma Lucy could fix anything I gave her. Margaret is the same way (when she’s feeling cooperative). Grandma Lucy could read a ridiculously thick novel in two hours though she was a Harlequin romance junkie. So can Margaret. The speed-reading definitely skipped a generation. Grandma Lucy loved to wear hats and so does Margaret. And Grandma Lucy was a very private person – you had to pry her mouth open to get any dirt on family members from her (I managed to do so on several occasions. Yes, I’m proud of that.). Margaret doesn’t tell me squat. No matter how much I threaten her. And look at the picture of Margaret above and the one of my grandma at our wedding. See anything that looks the same? Pure coincidence. Or is it?

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if they met. And then I remember, they already have.

Happy All Soul’s Day Grandma Lucy. I will miss you to eternity.

Gpa & Gma Previtt.jpg
Grandma Lucy and Grandpa Russell on their wedding day

2 thoughts on “The soul I miss every Halloween

  1. Beautiful – and funny blog! I love reading these! And Margaret’s Halloween make-up is unsettlingly scary – if such a word exists!


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