A good friend of mine gave me a very thoughtful gift this past Christmas. Actually, a few thoughtful gifts. She knows how hard it is for me to go to work every day, surrounded by the countless family reminders that are impossible to avoid. The conversations, the stories. The collage of photos and artwork of children, carefully pinned to cubicle walls. Unexpected visits from sick kids sent home from school or daycare. And the millions of other obstacles I encounter. She knows how much it hurts me to feel like I can’t talk about my son. That I can’t have his photo out for people to admire like other parents. That I’m afraid that people won’t want to talk about him or see his picture because it’s too sad or uncomfortable. Because they know he’s not alive. This friend gave me picture frames for Christmas and the encouragement to set Rylan’s picture out on my desk at work. And yes, I said frames, plural, if you didn’t catch that part. She actually gave me 4-5 different styles to ensure that I could pick the one, or couple of frames, that I felt would best fit such an important image. The gift was amazing. Especially the reassurance that putting his picture out in the open was something viewed as a good thing by someone else. Someone that would surely see his picture every time they stopped by. For that I will never be able to truly thank her.
I will be honest with you. Although I set those frames out on my desk shortly after I unwrapped them, they have remained empty for the past month. Partially because my work schedule has been so busy. But mostly because I was afraid. For the reasons listed above. I’ve also been nervous about reviewing the collection of photos I have in that tucked away folder on my desktop. I know that seeing his little face causes mixed reactions for me, a few which undoubtedly bring on the waterworks.
My recent days at work have been more of a struggle. Today was especially hard. And, tonight, before I left work I thought about my friend and her gifts. I pulled together the courage to search out a picture. I printed it, trimmed it out, and placed it in the largest frame. It’s a lovely wooden frame, placed on my desk to the right, and set carefully beside a photo of me and Chris. I suppose I wanted to see our family together. I did tear up a bit. It’s funny how I have a similar photo on my dresser at home—the same one that I say goodnight to before bed every evening—but for some reason seeing it sitting there at work caused a wave of emotions. I’m nervous about the next few days, what people will or will not say or do as a result of my bold step. But, I feel good that I did something for me, for my family. So that people know I had a son and so they don’t forget about him. So they know that I love him and remember that he is still a part of my every day. That I’m proud to be his mom.
I hope that other parents, walking in similar shoes, will read this and feel the same encouragement that my friend gave me. Don’t be afraid to be proud of your babies and your families. You, too, deserve to be surrounded by your family in your every day and be recognized as parents. After all, you did the most difficult thing a parent ever has to do—you said goodbye.
Love and hugs baby Rylan. Your mommy misses you more than the sun misses the moon.
6 thoughts on “One small step.”
Tearfully, I want to say . . . I am glad you took this step, and hope it does reach others who will find some peace in it.
Thank you! I I do hope that it helps others find the strength to do the same. Sometimes I look at his photo on my desk and I feel sad because I miss him so much. But, most times I look over at his beautiful face and it makes me feel comforted. And, it makes me feel like his parent, which is a nice feeling when I can’t really be that for him the normal sense of the word.
So beautifully brave. I can’t quite bring myself to do it. Not with a picture… But I do wear a necklace every day that has his name inscribed on it. 🙂
I also have a couple of necklaces that I wear each day and they have brought me comfort over the past 8 months. I do struggle at work, though, and often feel like I’m not a parent the way the people around me are. Adding his photo to my desk has been a very positive thing—more than I expected—and so far I have only received a few, warm comments about it from my friends at work. It has helped me a little as I listen to people talk about their kids and families—when I feel sad, upset, or stressed I just look over at my son’s photo and remember that we are a family, too. I take comfort in knowing that I’m his mom and whether he is here with us or not, my love for him is endless. Love that shouldn’t have to be hidden from the world. I hope that sometime you will be able to take the same scary step. It was very difficult for me, I won’t lie, but having him more present in my every day (beyond in my own head) brings me some peace. Hugs to you during this difficult journey.
I love this! What a great gift and how awesome to put him on your desk! This reminds me of how I felt putting Luke’s picture on our Christmas card. It is a scary step out into the unknown, but I think it’s great. It shouldn’t be controversial to show our beautiful babies. They deserve to be seen. I have Luke’s foot on my desk, but I would love to have his face. I love his face so much.
Sometimes its the scariest steps that bring us the most comfort or satisfaction. Anytime that we can express the love we have for our children to others and remind people that we are parents, I think it helps. I remember when you took Luke’s foot image to work and how good it made you feel. I remember how unsure I felt about wanting to take a similar step. It does feel good though and I hope that both of us can be an inspiration to other parents to do the same thing. It’s great to showcase the pride and love we have for our children out in the open—which I feel is where it should be anyway—not just hidden away in our hearts. I hope that you are doing well. I read your entry about your doc appointment, and I’m sorry it left you so unsettled and upset. I feel like this new experience should be made as easy and positive as possible for you. I feel that you deserve some additional understanding and comfort rather than criticism and skepticism. Some doctors can be so clueless. I felt that way when I had to return to the doctor after we lost Ry. I hope that things will be better for you moving forward. Sending hugs to you!