A Hallmark Moment Exposed

I noticed Carter’s shoulders seemed a little broader and he hauled 15 bags of junk up from the basement so that we could take it to Goodwill. I spent the day feeling like a death camp warden, forcing stuffies into garbage bags, something that will haunt me for a long time, those big, cute plastic eyes peering up at me so that I had to place them into the bag face down (apparently I have an issue: I don’t do well with pinatas that have eyes either).

Even as his shoulders get broader and he becomes useful, its still there, in a drawing that he hands me as I return from an evening out with friends. Maybe I was annoyed because he and his sister ‘forgot’ to clean up the kitchen and I may have slammed around throwing away dried up chicken bits while he dipped around me putting away glasses from the dishwasher in apology. I put the drawing down without looking at it, only finding it the next morning, sad that I hadn’t hugged him when he handed it to me. Its never neat and tidy like in the movies, its never a Hallmark moment.

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  1. Amy January 27, 2010 at 11:50 am

    As a 37 year old widow and mother of 2, I have had many non-Hallmark moments myself. Thanks for sharing the drawing and the moment so honestly. It's an honor to follow your journey.

  2. anniegirl1138.com January 27, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I often find my daughter's moments of remembering (or attempts to remind me) awkward and even intrusive. Whereas I am glad of the distance, her uneven spurts of … don't know if I can really call it grief .. don't neatly line up with my own needs in that regard. Sometimes my response is merely to listen because I really don't know how she feels. I haven't been in her shoes.

  3. letterstoelias January 27, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing this.

    It's easy to get hard on ourselves at moments like this too, isn't it?

    Parenting isn't easy at the best of times, and there are so many different layers added to parenting through something like the loss of a parent. It's incredibly important that we are able to speak of these things honestly, as – with all the other issues – it helps us feel so much less alone.

    It may sound strange, but I remember feeling a slight sense of 'relief' after reading about some of your parenting struggles in your book. It helped me feel a whole lot more normal. I still wanted to try and work on maintaining patience, etc., but it was difficult to know that I had changed as a parent, and your book helped me to see that it was all a part of the grief process. As Amy said, thank you for your honesty and willingness to share.


  4. Abigail January 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Awww, thanks guys. I can't tell you how much it means to know that my journey is helping you through yours. God, its a bumpy path!

  5. Roads February 1, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Those kids — they just do fantastic, don't they? And we are so fucking grouchy and imperfect, falling back into the grump of a 'normal' life.

    But it's a big ask to do otherwise. And we have to cut ourselves some slack. We deserve that much, but really, I often think that the kids deserve even more.

    Thanks very much for sharing.

  6. Cathy February 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    you bag.. you made me cry. but I suppose i needed it. hallmark moment achieved in Calgary. The other day J had a memory about his dad, and I had no idea he had it, and I wasn't involved in the memory and didn't plant it – so it was almost as if I got to be with his dad for a second more.. then it faded.
    Love your honesty. I need it.

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