One of the hardest lessons for me in losing a child is that you don’t ever get to make new memories with that child. No new birthday photos. No family photos with everyone in them. And therefore, you hold onto the old ones with all your strength.
This week marked a milestone for us, one that is knocking me around more than I would have thought.
In 1998 and 1999, I scrimped and saved to give my husband a surprise for his birthday in 1999. He had wanted a recliner, and finally, with help from our parents, I bought him one for his birthday. I remember going to pick it up with him, with baby Sam in his backpack. The joy and excitement as we picked up one of our very first new pieces of furniture and brought it home was more than I can describe.
It wasn’t the nicest chair even then, brand new. But it was sturdy, fit in the space, and was a symbol of love. My husband would sit there and give Sam his bottle. He’d read to all three (at the time) of the kids, with them balancing on his lap. When Ben was born, I can remember Sam sitting on his lap, holding his new brother, so excited to have that tiny baby join the nightly reading time.
As the kids grew, sitting in Daddy’s chair was still a joy. They read there, slept there when sick or scared, watched TV in it, and even as big kids, could still be convinced to cuddle with us in that chair.
Years went by. The chair showed its age. It began to have some shiny areas where the fabric was fraying. Then the seat began to tilt. Then it really tilted, so it was hard to sit in comfortably.
Finally, we agreed it was time for the chair to go. And our kids disagreed. It needed to stay, so it moved into our two youngest sons’ room. Years passed, and it was still used almost daily. When the youngest went to college, it finally reclined for the last time, then just became a spot for stuff to gather.
This week, with some reorganizing of the house, we made the decision that it was time for the chair to go to the landfill. It couldn’t be fixed, was grubby, and it was time to let go of it.
It’s just a chair, I know that. But it also was a chair that Sam sat in, slept in, dreamed in, cried it, and on one memorable occasion, threw up in it in truly impressive fashion. It was part of his life, and saying goodbye to it hurt a lot. I will miss that chair, what it represented, all those hours and years of love, laughter, and being whole.