Growing up in the little one-horse-town that I grew up in, autumn always held its charm. The leaves would begin to change, the temperatures dropped at night, a few select houses would begin to prepare their house for trick or treaters, and with that change, the talk changed to spooky stories. Most of these stories were fabrications, but most had one common factor; Rehmeyer’s Hollow (Hex Hollow). Rehmeyer’s Hollow became “famous” for the murder of Nelson Rehmeyer, a witch or pow wow doctor. The murder happened in November, but because of the witch thing and cursing or hexing, it became more of a Halloween thing. You can look up what happened and the various stories, the topic of my post isn’t the background, but it’s pretty cool stuff actually. There are stories about the seven gates of hell being in Rehmeyer’s Hollow (which I don’t believe, but when you’re young those stories are exhilarating.) While I was growing up, there was a hay ride that went through Rehmeyer’s Hollow every autumn. Along the route, you’d pass The Hex House and various set ups that the community put together.
One year, I think it was the Halloween I was 12, I was invited by a few friends to join them for the event. We had an allotted amount of time to dance and be creepy. I think we were supposed to be zombies, that part is fuzzy. I joined about eight other friends. The biggest thing I remember is dancing like fool to Monster Mash and Mambo #5. That was the last year we all spent Halloween together. The following March our beloved friend, one of my best friends, killed himself. But that Halloween was one of my favorites. I never thought I’d have that much fun dancing in front of strangers and people that might recognize me.
Every year, when the temperatures get cooler at night and the leaves begin to change… When talks of apples and pumpkins are floating around everywhere… When that feeling returns… I go back to dancing to Mambo No. 5 with my friends. I see my friend, who would be 30 now, dancing, smiling, laughing, trying to make the kids on the hay rides stop crying and start laughing. I hear my friend tell me, “Being afraid you’ll get made fun of isn’t something I’d worry about. I want those kids to remember Halloween isn’t just scary.”
Autumn is bittersweet, but it’s my favorite time of year.
Because suicide awareness shouldn’t be a day, a week, or month, I always make it a point to be there for others. I know what it’s like to be that low that you just want it all to end (I’ve tried and thankfully failed). I know what it’s like to smile and laugh and pretend you’re okay. I know what it’s like to lose someone dear to you. If you need a pep-talk, someone to listen, some advice, a funny text to cheer you up, or just someone to do nothing with…I’m that person.
Choose to live. Choose to love. Trust me when I say it’ll be worth it. The best is yet to come. You won’t be where you are forever.
You are not alone.