I vowed to myself before Thanksgiving that this holiday season would not cause me stress. Not that it typically does, but as a mother with an angel in Heaven, who spent multiple Christmases in the hospital with her baby, triggers are plentiful at holiday time.
Between hockey practice and my haircut today, I watched Sleepless in Seattle. My Sunday relaxing before another week of mom-ing, wife-ing, and working.
I’m a sucker for Meg Ryan. My husband and I joke that we are ‘When Harry Met Sally.’ We met and became friends in college. We had other relationships, but something kept bringing us back to one another. And over two decades later, here we are still. And I suspect we will be just like those old couples interviewed at the beginning and end of the movie. Telling the story of how we met to our great grandchildren.
But as I was watching Sleepless, a movie that depicts grief, and love, there was a small part I had forgotten. Having seen it years before I was married or a mother, I guess at the time it just didn’t register as important.
There is a quote in the movie that’s actually from An Affair to Remember. Meg Ryan and Rosie O’Donnell are watching the movie when Deborah Kerr says, ‘Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories…’
These are the tiny moments where I, while triggered in my grief, feel so blessed.
As loss parents, there are days where our warm memories are all we have.
In three short years, we made a lifetime of memories with our sweet angel. Every day, one or more of those memories pops in my head and makes me smile. The way he looked over his little glasses and gave me the ‘stink eye.’ The way he grinned before he had teeth. How he signed ‘more please’ before he had any words. The way he snuggled. The way he hugged. The way he smelled.
I’m finding out as time with him slips away, time remembering him feels more joyful. It always stings – to the deepest core of my soul – that he isn’t physically with me. And that’s often harder during and after the holidays when I wish I were wrapping his presents, photographing him on Santa’s lap, and driving him around in the snow to see the houses of the neighborhood all aglow.
But those memories – those memories I so cherish – keep my insides warm. Because we got to have him. He was part of our world, and his presence remains with us each and every day.
And because of him, because of his sweet soul, and all of those warm memories, we will never, ever, have a cold winter.