Judson's Legacy

Glamorizing Death


I think I must have been about seven or eight years old when I was a TV for Halloween.  It was in our garage, with newspapers strewn about to protect the floor, that I recall my parents helping me cut and paint a box to create an awesome, original television costume; it had an antennae, channel dials, and buttons—my face was “on TV” for the night.  As it turned out, the costume was rather large and limited my lines of vision making my movements around the cul-de-sac awkward and challenging; I frequently bumped into things trying to ring our neighbors’ doorbells seeking treats.  But despite the dents and bruises from getting knocked around a bit, I vividly remember the fun I had that day.

Whether I was an angel, or a hobo, or a flower, or a baby, or a tin-foil robot, Halloween seemed to allow for fun and creativity as a child with an opportunity to get a little loot.  Like most kids, I would come home after a full evening of trick-or-treating and dump the contents of my brown paper bag on the living room floor and sort through the goods, counting chocolate bars and creating piles of the candy I liked best.  Then those treats that were not of interest (or that my mom deemed as having too many artificial colors or flavors) we would put back in our family’s candy bowl to hand out to treat-seeking late-comers that night.

Though there is concern surrounding the origins of the holiday, I have very fond memories of Halloween as a child.

Fast forward almost 30 years.

Halloween has changed for me; it brings torrents of heaviness in my heart.  Beyond the fact that October 31st is now filled with difficult memories (see The Beginning of the End 10/31/2008), I have discovered something else that makes it especially challenging…

My spirit, more than ever before, is particularly sensitive to much of the decor and costumes that run rampant with the season.

We have a neighbor with a life-size poster of a skeleton hanging from a noose.  Another nearby apartment is creeped out with synthetic, decaying limbs.  Many homes are decorated with mummies, coffins, gravestones, ghosts, and all sorts of other dark paraphernalia.  Stores are filled with costumes of devils, goblins, and zombies.  That which is garishly grotesque and gruesome appeals to the masses at Halloween; carnage is re-packaged as amusement and it’s trendy.

In the name of fun, it is easy to brush these things off as harmless and innocent, and on some level I understand.  However, though I never liked dark, gory decor before, my markedly tender heart finds these “innocuous” displays of evil and mortality to be especially troubling now. When a child walks down the street dressed as a skeleton, isn’t death being glamorized?

The truth is, although Judson’s spirit is incredibly alive, I am ever-aware that my child’s body is a skeleton now, and I know with certainty there is absolutely nothing glamorous about it.


10 Responses to "Glamorizing Death"

  1. susan says:

    This is an interesting post because I remember as a teacher feeling offended by some of the Halloween costumes as the kids paraded around the school yard – because I was imagining them as being seen through the eyes of people who really have suffered. There is nothing pretend about suffering.

    While I know most of the kids just considered it light-hearted fun, it would be nice if more thought were put into it. It’s sad to think it can bring more pain to people.

    I’m sure Jessie will get all cutesied up this year – you are so good about making sure she experiences all the joys of childhood even in the midst of your great pain.

  2. Dawn Mills says:

    I find myself feeling the same way when I see such costumes and decorations. I often think…geesh, maybe I’m being too sensitive. But nothing about skeletons and graves and the like is funny..or neat……or whatever. It is a sad reminder of a painful reality.
    Hope Jessie, as well as you and Drake, have a wonderful Halloween.

  3. Gina says:

    A friend and I were talking the other day about the fascination with Halloween as a culture. I don’t remember the holiday being so celebrated in the past. Why the change?? I’m bothered too. I even want to write a complaint to Party City management because of how they decorate their store. I won’t take my kids in there Aug – Oct 31. It’s really bad. I’m sad for you that this season if filled with additional pain.

  4. angie Green says:

    I understand how Halloween is affecting you this year, it does seem that many "glamorize" death, doesn’t it? But, I can remember so many times when it seemed the world just didn’t "get it" concerning so many things that I found myself more aware of and saw differently.

    After Kevin’s death, Halloween took on a new meaning for me, as well. As I look back on the times when my three sons were young, it seemed to me their attentions turned toward ghosts, skeletons, vampires, bats, spiders and such was a way for them to poke fun at the things that otherwise frightened them. For one night, they laughed out loud at death, filled their bellies with things sweet and tart and ran through the city streets victorious over death and the things of the night.

    As grieving moms, we now must live with the reality that Kevin and Jud’s body are decaying where they lay indeed. However, dear mom in Christ, we can also learn to live with the reality that our sons are laughing out loud, are victors over death and are running free, as we face our skeletons here and become victorious over death, too. May we continue to move from the edge of the tomb to the edge of eternity. Love and Hugs, Angie

  5. Kristen Victor says:

    Amen! Preach it! I am glad I’m not the only one that dislikes all the gore that comes with Halloween. I didn’t make the connection to your perspective/ experience until you mentioned it, and it made me shutter. Lots of love to you!

  6. aunt sue says:

    Plus, Christy, on a spiritual level, Hallowe’en is satan’s domain. So much satanic ritual is done on Hallowe’en. I know the innocence of how a child looks at it, but my spirit is very troubled at all the gruesomeness of it. God convicted me very early on about certain areas of the holiday. Each one of us has to look to God and follow his Spirit as to how He is leading us.

    Some of our holidays (traditions) have come from pagan rituals. Is Hallowe’en one of them? From All Saints Day?

    Blessings to you. Love, aunt Sue

  7. Rebekah says:

    You are SO right! I am deeply touched by this post. I hate (not an exaggeration, in this case) all the evil, dark, miserable gore that Halloween brings to the forefront. I hate taking my kids past the gruesome decorations in stores.

    To be perfectly honest, since our pastor preached about the origins and Satanic rituals of Halloween several years ago, I have never been able to dredge up any excitement over celebrating the day. We have yet to take our kids trick-or-treating (though merely a personal choice- I don’t think it’s "wrong" to do so) and I prefer just to hide out for the evening.

    We trick-or-treated as kids and had a great time inventing fun costumes; my best friend and I enjoyed matching costumes on two or three occasions. Of course the candy was always a source of great enthusiasm!

    Your thoughts in this post just serve to reinforce my own feelings over the culture of death and evil that the world takes pleasure in celebrating- it seems to get worse and worse. Death is not funny or pleasant or anything to have a party about… especially for those who have lost loved ones to it.

    Heaven can’t come quickly enough…

  8. sabrina gavriilidis says:

    Hi Christina,

    I’m so glad you made this entry. I’ve been feeling the same way, but too afraid to tell anyone. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    I look at all of the ‘glamourized death’ on display in our neighborhood and in all of the stores and I am tortured with thoughts of what my beautiful baby’s body may look like today.

    The problem is, Michael absolutely loves all of the gorey stuff. Halloween is his favorite time of year. The other day, he said "mommy, did you know a zombie is really a dead person?" Again, thoughts of Zoe came to mind. I replied, "That’s the idea, but it’s all just pretend. Zombies are not real." Then I tensed up, waiting for him to relate it to his sister, waiting for his next question, but it never came. Thank goodness it never came.

    I continue to read all of your entries. Thank you for sharing your life, your family’s life and especially Jud’s life.

    xoxo- Sabrina (Zoe’s Mommy)

  9. michele stump says:

    Hey Christina,

    I have been thinking of this post of yours a lot since you wrote it. It is so true and I really appreciate hearing your perspective. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us.

  10. Linda Swift McDonald says:

    His soul (the most incredible part of Judson) is with Jesus! And that old body that failed him,IS a skeleton. But that is just NOT Judson at all. I know that God lived in him more than most people. His new body is waiting. Even Judson's litter hands and eyes and voice is saved in God's big plan. He can take the same dust and form it again; even more perfectly. That's hard to imagine! Makes me feel like shouting a Southern Baptist shout…Hallelujah! Look to the day. If I don't ever meet you here on Earth, I WILL see you soon! Love and prayers and peaceful thoughts. Love that boy of yours!

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