Halloween truth at the heart of the scare

The scariest part of Halloween is the simple truth that people die.

Russell Shaw, 1948-2008The scariest part of Halloween is the simple truth that people die.

It falls on the Catholic calendar right before All Saint's Day, celebrating the passing of those the Church considers hallowed. All Hallows Eve. Which is followed by All Soul's Day, which celebrates everyone who has died.

I was brought close to this truth three times this last year. My father-in-law, my close friend Russell Shaw, and then my mother-in-law all passed away.

And I haven't been feeling too nifty myself. After 50 the weight of time starts getting heavy. My hypertension forces me into long naps, my bike rides leave me tired, and good habits don't seem to bring the benefits they once did.

No matter how good your health care, no matter how well you live, no matter how good you are, death is waiting for you. No way to tell when or where or how, but it's waiting out there. And no one knows what follows, although all religious people have their ideas about it.

Scary stuff.

Halloween gives us a chance to laugh at it all, to wear costumes, to play at fear. I have noticed younger families around me have gotten heavily into it, with front yard displays which rival what they put out at Christmas, and parties rivaling New Year's.

Nothing wrong with any of that. I'll just get less of a kick out of this year's celebration, knowing the truth, missing my friend and some of the best people I've ever known.