Have you ever ran out of the house quickly, reached your car, started pulling out of the drive way, feeling as if you were forgetting something important only you couldn’t put your finger on it? That exact feeling is the best way I could describe how I feel every day since little Patryk passed away. Every time I get to my car I’m feeling as if I am forgetting something, but also aware I’m probably not forgetting anything. Learning to live with this feeling has been challenging. I never know when I’m actually forgetting something or if it’s just Patryk’s presence that I am missing. Over the years this awareness has become easier to decipher and no longer occurs every time I leave my home. Actually just recently quite the opposite happened and I did forget Patryk, leaving me with a huge range of emotions.
The past years I just couldn’t bring my self to hang up stockings for Christmas. The current ones I owned are the very same ones I use to hang up with Patryk, they just made me sad. All the memories with them were filled with more happiness than anyone could hope for on Christmas morning, but not being able to have Patryk there to open his stocking left me feeling empty inside. So every year thus far we have skipped hanging up stockings, until this year. I was over joyed when I found the exact stockings I was dreaming of and ordered them with out hesitation. Then quickly ran out to Target where I found the cutest personalized stocking holders. When the stockings arrived I placed each letter stocking holder up and hung the stockings in their place. When I stepped back to admire the mantle I smiled, but while standing there elated I began to have that “one” feeling again…
I had forgotten Patryk’s stocking, or had I? I didn’t even think up to this point if I was going to have one for him. This feeling I couldn’t shake like I was forgetting something was my answer, but I wanted my husbands input. I asked him his thoughts and he agreed, we should hang Patryk’s stocking. The reason I asked him was to make sure it would be something he could handle. You just never know with grief how it will affect one person to the next. Being sensitive to that is a very important key to surviving marriage after such a loss. With his approval I then quickly grabbed my credit card and ordered Patryk’s stocking. I also wanted to make his stocking a part of something the kids would be involved with, I began pondering what that would be…
Ah Ha! Each year Maxwell and Katia will pick out a special ornament to buy and place in Patryk’s stocking. Then they will make cards or place notes in the stocking that we will open and read on Christmas morning. I hope Patryk is up and Heaven smiling so bright from this new tradition. I know his brother had an exciting time picking out his ornament this year which is Olaf from the Disney movie Frozen. To be honest this tradition already feels healing for myself. I love the idea of Patryk’s brother and sister picking something out for him, but more importantly I want to see what they write to him as they become older. I think this is a very therapeutic and joyful way to incorporate Patryk into our lives. Thinking about it now I’m glad I waited all these years to hang up Patryk’s stocking, now this event can be a joyous time that we all look forward too.
I’m glad I didn’t pressure myself about how to deal with the decision to hang Patryk’s stocking over the years, when the time was right it all came together perfectly. Thinking back to when I first realized I didn’t buy a stocking for Patryk I felt sad and confused. Sad that he was not here to hang his own stocking and confused on how I could forget about him. Now I’m reminding myself as I sit here typing that I didn’t forget him, I could never do that, I simply misplaced him. Placing him so deep in my heart that all the overwhelming feelings of missing him weighed on me, clouding my thoughts. So much time has passed and it has become more normal that he’s not here, it deeply saddens me to say that but it is the truth. The new normal has become living with out him, living everyday with the weight of a mountain on your back with out the strength to even walk. God gives me strength I never knew I had to carry this unimaginable heartbreak. My memories of Patryk help as well, thinking about his bright spirit lifts me up and reminds me to just be happy. Thankful thankful thankful for the five years I got to know the most incredible, inspirational and kind hearted boy I’ll ever meet!
To anyone looking at this photo below they might think it’s adorably perfect, for myself this picture couldn’t be more flawless all while feeling like it’s missing someone. That’s just the way it is, living everyday feeling like I’m always forgetting something, but never forgetting you my beautiful son!
With Christmas right around the corner and the Holiday parties already in full effect I wanted to take a minute to discuss something with everyone. This is supposed to be a very joyous time of year, but it’s not for everyone because some have lost a child recently. For those people this may be one of the hardest times and they may try to hide that. Some hide it by not showing up to events at all, let them. Others will put on a smile and show you no sign of the pain, because they do not want to damper this special time for everyone. One thing is for sure, no matter how that person chooses to deal with their pain tell them it’s ok. Let them know your not offended if they can’t make your party, tell them how happy you are to see them smiling despite their loss. Just help them through this hard time, sometimes that means just sitting next to them and having a conversation no one in the room knows how to bring up. Talk about their child, their infant loss, the miscarriage; no matter what stage of life the loss was still their child and they long to hold them, to talk about them. It doesn’t mean you have to pry or go into lengthy detail maybe just tell them a personal memory you have of the child.
For the mother who miscarried earlier in the year, she may be crying inside for the baby that she longs to hold in her belly and thinking about how big and round she would have been. So, remember if your announcing a new pregnancy at a family gathering to be mindful of this. Still let it be a celebratory time for yourself, but maybe pull that person aside and let them know first not in front of everyone, allowing their reaction be more private incase it is emotional for them to hear.
Last I want to leave you with a few ideas how to show that person love during this difficult time.
- Have a star named after their child using nameastar.com and wrap the certificate. What a beautiful gift for them to open! (using this idea for Patryk’s stocking one year!)
- Create a book on Shutterfly of their child
- Write a special message in a card (writing a memory of that child or encouraging words)
- Find photos of that child they do not own and frame it
- Most recently I was left in tears when I read a touching story on Facebook of a father who took a framed photo to Santa. His son passed away that year, but he wanted to get his sons first ever photo sitting on Santa’s lap and give it to his wife for Christmas. This story touched my heart so dearly! I’m in love with this idea and if in a similar situation I think this is absolutely the most beautiful thing a spouse could do for their husband or wife.