This next story begins on a brisk, early December day. Thin clouds, a watery blue sky and patches of sun play tag above while bundled neighbors work to untwist some Christmas lights for decorating or exercise their dogs in the park down the street. I’ve found Chris and Emily’s house and can see through their front window as I walk toward it, that their tree is not only up, but in full Christmas mode. I ring the doorbell; it’s answered by a smiling Emily who welcomes me inside. I’m quickly introduced to daughters, Clara, eight, who is standing close to her mom, and Abbey, five, who shyly peeks at me from around the Christmas tree. All three usher me to a table where we’ll soon be talking together.
Before I even sit down to unpack and move into our interview time, Emily places a beautiful container on the table in front of me; it’s a box designated to hold the special clothing and mementos she and husband, Chris, retained from the delivery of their son, Carter. Clara and Abbey start their questions to Emily about all the treasures Carter’s box holds and each is taken out, shared and talked about as if Carter has just come home from the hospital. But he was never able to come home and that is why we are here today – to talk about a treasured son who never physically spent Christmas with them.
This winter afternoon, we visited together in a thankful home: it’s Chris and Emily’s home; it’s Clara and Abbey’s home; and it is Carter’s home. He is remembered through words, through family stories and memories, and within family pictures where he is represented by “Carter Bear,” the teddy chosen for him that first Christmas in 2007. “This is Carter’s story,” his mother affirms. “Carter made Chris and I parents, and prepared us to love Clara and Abbey to the fullest. Losing him has certainly shaped our family into what it is today; we love deeply and treasure our time together. He will always be our son and for that we are thankful.”
As always, I wish you peace on your journey forward.