A Somber Halloween

Halloween is in the air.

I’ve loved this festive day since I was a child. My sister and I enjoyed dressing up, making costumes from this and that, and anticipating the night. Of course, there were strict rules about where we could go, how long we could be out, and with whom, but we made the most of it.

With Sharon at our home in Canada

We arrived home long before 8:00 with cold cheeks and a bag of candy. The candy haul would fuel a trading game in the weeks to come. We would spread the goods on the living room floor, count each item, then trade back and forth. We each had our favorites. It was also a way to extend the thrill of the night.

As adults, we found the excuse to dress up for parties or work events. We fixed each other’s hair or wig and donned false eyelashes. Sharon usually helped with my makeup since I’m an amateur and she’s the pro.

Sharon dressed as a witch. I made a costume this year called my year in trash

My sister and I no longer dress up, and the thrill of the day has passed. Sharon’s MS has advanced to such a degree that she can no longer walk or drive. She struggles to dress, and she needs help putting on her shoes. At the end of this month, the water therapy that helps sustain her is no longer covered by her health plan. The powers that be, determined that since she can’t get well, she can’t have physical therapy. Health “care” in this country often boils down to health insurance. It’s beyond depressing.

Today, I shampooed my sister’s hair in an inflatable sink, then wrapped it in a towel to dry. She’s lost the chance to shower two days a week after water therapy, robbing her of the dignity of basic hygiene. We are both bereft.

It’s hard to know where we go from here, so we’re improvising. Costumes and wigs no longer apply.

Tomorrow I’ll toss candy into the bags of costumed children after they knock at our door and yell, “trick-or-treat!” The night will be bitter and sweet.

32 thoughts on “A Somber Halloween

  1. Sweet memories and photos.
    I’m sorry and sad that, as often, money are valued more than people and your beloved sister is no longer entitled to assistance that would improve the quality of her life.


  2. So very, very sorry! What a crabbed, cruel system we have here. It really is beyond comprehension that the insurance company should decline to pay for a therapy that helps your sister in so many ways.


  3. Oh ((( Alys ))), life is really piling on for you both. The lack of cooperation from Sharon’s insurance company is reprehensible! How do they sleep at night?! I recognize the photo with you in a green dress, what a fun day that was. Is home care an option at all? Like you need to frickin’ bathe to be healthy. Meanwhile, Maga monsters complain about so many BS problems, I can’t even. The selfishness of some (a small, arrogant, offensive minority) really is mind boggling. Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sending you all giant squishy hugs, for what they are worth. I fully understand. There is no easy way through this situation. What was once fun can now only be a memory. I’m still here when you need to verbalize. I’ve never had much faith in medicine as it is now.


  5. Such a poignant musing. The sadness is palpable yet I appreciate that you balance it with present joy of interacting with today’s children at the door. ❤️❤️❤️


  6. You are a wonderful woman who loves your sister very much Alys. It is so unfortunate that the health insurance in the USA (you stated it correctly in your post its insurance and certainly not healthcare) boils down to whichever bean counter reviews Sharon’s case and insurance policy. It has nothing to do with what Sharon needs.. It’s really shameful. Terry and I wish Sharon the best and thankfully she has a sister like you.


    • Laurie, thank you for this kind and generous offer. Much has transpired since I wrote this making water therapy a challenge as well, but I don’t want to let it pass without sending you my profound gratitude for your care. xo


  7. I have never understood insurance. When I worked in Healthcare I was often having to explain to patients what wasn’t covered or why they had a deductible/copay that exceeded the procedure they were in need of. Awful. Lovely photos of you and your sweet sister.


  8. I’m so sorry to hear your sister is no longer entitled to water therapy, Alys. Thank goodness she has you, though that can hardly be any real consolation.

    By the way, your costumes look ace 😊


  9. I am so sorry to hear that Sharon’s health has deteriorated and her care is being cut. That is such bad news. Health care seems to be in decline across the globe, unless you pay for it. So wrong.


    • Dear Alys, I have just whizzed through the past year of your blog and am so sorry I lost touch… it seems I was unsubscribed and just assumed you weren’t blogging much. Your botanical cards are beautiful, your hike was interesting to read about, and the church fire was such a tragedy. Hope you have new premises now. And now your sister must be foremost in your mind. Wishing you both all the best. 🤗


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