Remaining grateful after losing loved ones

The kid and I went over to Cracker Barrel to pick up our Thanksgiving dinner, came back home to enjoy it in peace before decorating our Christmas tree with all the family ornaments we have. Ornaments with family pictures since the kid was born with Richard, with Nike and with Zoe. It was fun to get the ornaments out and hang them on the tree, until some of those ornaments stirred emotions on the kid.


This year has been hard on the kid. His young life changed when his dad died, then again when Zoe died and finally again when Nike died a couple months ago. The kid is thankful he has me, but looking at those ornaments with them just stirred his heart more than I thought they would.


The kid is 8 years old now, he has developed a deeper understanding of what death is, and while it’s not every single day, he does mourn his dad and fur siblings more often now than the previous years. I know both his maturity level and his coping skills are still developing, but sometimes some photographs just bring him down to tears.


Since it was Thanksgiving day, I steered him to a more uplifting direction. We talked about how his dad and I met, how we got Nike, how he almost died from kennel cough and how I sat with him day and night until he pulled through. How we got Zoe, how I fixed all the holes in the wall and carpet that she made. We talked about how I trained them both so one day Nike and Zoe would be the greatest dogs to him as a baby.


We talked about how hard his dad and I worked to be able to afford the treatments that God used to give us this wonderful baby. We talked about how his dad and I got his birthday and Christmas gifts, what happened when we were taking the pictures that are now on the ornaments. The kid laughed and said “mama, I really miss dad, Nike and Zoe, but I’m so happy you’re here!” and he hugged me.


We talked about the fact that he wasn’t the only one who had lost loved ones in the house, I had too. We talked how the movie we were watching (“The Christmas Chronicles”) on Netflix was about two kids that had lost their dad, and how they dealt with the different feelings that came after the passing of their dad. The kid realized we may feel a lot, but we have to choose what to do next.


Slowly but surely we got to where I wanted him to be at. Looking at the ornaments kid telling him a story. The story of how it all started and how we got here. God got us all together, but dad, Nike and Zoe were meant to be with us only for a while, and they gave us love and taught us so much, and for all that we are grateful. I was most grateful because if it hadn’t been for husband, there wouldn’t be any Nike, or Zoe, or even the kid.


So now we only have each other, and all these ornaments and memories are to remind us that those we loved are gone, but they’re still in our hearts. God meant for them to touch and enrich our lives and then leave, and while it makes us sad that they are not here anymore, they were with us for a while, and we are thankful for that.


After sadness came thankfulness, and then came faith. Faith that God will lead our way and bring us a whole new bunch of memories and lessons and experiences, maybe someone who would love our tiny party of two, maybe a couple of Beagle puppies. Faith that there will be new ornaments with new images next year to show us how we got to that point. A lot to look forward to now!


Meanwhile, the kid finally understood that it is alright to feel sadness but not to let it take over him, and that it is alright to grieve but not to forget to wipe our tears and continue our walk. The kid knows he can come to mama when sadness or the memories are in his heart, and mama will make it better. We are completely thankful that God blessed our lives for a while with Richard, Nike and Zoe, and we are grateful we have a tree full of ornaments and memories to remind us of them.


Thank you for reading, God bless you and your family!


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