Friday, November 30, 2012

The season catches up with Rowan

It was bound to happen, wasn't it?

I know some people close to Aimee have been struggling with her death more lately, due to the nearness of the one year anniversary, but Rowan initially seemed unaffected. She was excited about Christmas, loved helping me decorate, and we've talked (a lot!) about what she was going to ask Santa for. I was holding on to a secret hope that she'd make it through unscathed.


Yesterday morning, while getting ready to leave for school, Rowan started to get fussy. When I asked her what was wrong, she said in a small, sad voice, "I don't know. I'm just not feeling like myself today." Besides seeming like a big thing to say for such a young kid, I probed a little deeper, and got to this: she's suddenly hit by the connection between Christmas and her mommy's death.

"Rowan, are you sad?"
"Are you sad about mommy?"
Another nod.
"Are you remembering Christmas last year without her here."
Rowan: "Yeah, I was just looking at mommy's stocking and I'm sad because she I miss her."


So the trigger this morning was the stocking. We all have one - even the dog - and Rowan had asked that we hang Aimee's up when we were decorating the house last weekend. No big deal, I figured. So I hung it up. But Rowan apparently was looking at it this morning and was remembering Christmas last year, and it hit her all at once.

I'm not surprised this is happening. Like I said, it's happening to a lot of people. I was talking to my therapist on Monday about my overly heightened memory of what I was doing this time last year, and we talked about how normal that is when approaching a traumatic anniversary. It only makes sense that it would happen for Rowan too. but I had hoped somehow that maybe as young as she was that maybe she'd get by with more of the joy of the season and less of the sadness of her mom's death. but it looks like that's not to be.

Well, we'll deal with this like we've dealt with the rest of it. We'll talk about our feelings. We'll make sure that Rowan knows this is normal for someone who's gone through what she has, and let her know that we can talk anytime she wants. Then we'll talk about good memories of Aimee, and of Christmas, and I'll do my best to guide Rowan in how to move on while honoring and remembering her mother's memory.

And we will do our absolute best to have a Merry Christmas.


  1. Oh Pat, I have never met Aimee and haven't seen you for years, and even I was thinking of your family this year as we were hanging our Christmas decorations, thinking back to your FB posts last December. :-( I'm praying for you and Rowan and your extended family, to find joy wherever you can this Christmas. Keep doing the great job I know you're doing at honoring Aimee and being an amazing dad.

  2. Oh wow Pat, my heart goes out to Rowan. I know how she feels with the loss of her mom. I was 9 when my dad passed away on the way to the hospital. It was 2 days after Thanksgiving, that was back in 1984, it is now 2012, years later, to this day the holidays are a little hard for me. I know Rowan has you Donna Justin her aunt Caroline. She has a lot of love around her. Just so she knows that her mom is watching over her, and will always be with her.