Wednesday, August 4, 2004

On Grief

Riley (our middle son) had his first real experience with grief yesterday. Actually, in a way we all did. He lost his blue blanket. We had walked over to Bellevue Square mall to have dinner at Red Robin. After dinner we decided our walking was adequate prepayment for some cheesecake. Moments later as we started to leave the play area (where the kids had taken refuge) to walk home we realized we didn't have blanket. Riley was distressed, but still clearly hopeful that we would find it as we re-traced our steps. However, we had no such joy. Red Robin didn't have it, neither did the Cheesecake Factory, and we didn't see it anywhere in our walking path. So, stunned, and with Riley pleading to go get another blanket at Babies 'R Us we left for the long walk home.

It was an odd sensation, but I realized that was was grieving with Riley. I went through many of the stages of grieving denial (nah! Red Robin MUST have the blanket), anger (why did you have to bring your blanket), depression (I was kinda paralyzed by the whole thing... It was hard to start walking back home). It made it more accute that this was my son! Watching Riley go through the same thing and ultimately come to acceptance (we had a backup blanket that he had rejected a long time ago) was hard. He took the new blanket and while it didn't feel, or smell the same it had to do, and he moved on. It was hard to watch.

Fortunately, there's a happy ending.... Moments after Riley had accepted the reality that his old blanket was gone and he had to start loving his new one we found the old one. Brody had "stolen" it and Shiree found it tucked away in the sling with Brody. What a relief!

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