Friday, May 29, 2009

the nightstand

Dear Brian,

As you know, Gavin is a collector. He gathers and hoards all sorts of "treasures" and keeps them either in a box in his closet so his brother will not touch them or lined up on his dressers for a proud display of his most recently acquired nuggets of nostalgia.

For him, this is an expression of himself and part of something he can control in his life. And Gavin likes to control the little bits he can around him. I have learned to accept this about him despite the fact that it looks junky and it encourages him NOT to share. It is Gavin.

However, every so often, I go on a rampage cleaning out his "treasures" when they begin to overrun his room or when the collections under the bed overflow into NOT under the bed causing me to step on them or when I can no longer find room in his closet for a pair of little boys' shoes (which are 1 size away from fitting me, by the way).

The other day, on his nightstand, I was tired of looking at this, and was a few minutes away from forcing him to find a different place less conspicuous:

Before I said anything, I noticed a small memo pad with a pencil inserted into the spiral binding at the top. I looked at it and asked Gavin what he was writing at night when he was supposed to be sleeping. He said, "a list." A list of what? "A list of everything on that table."

So not only is he collecting, he is compiling lists of his collections.

This list said the following:

Cat hat

trofy (trophy)

Cat dumptrukc (dumptruck)

cros in a bag (cross in a bag)


bake pak thing (back pack thing)

shrt thing (shirt thing)

neclis (necklace)

And I realized that this particular collection, the only one thus far worthy of a list, was a collection of all things YOU. His nightstand is a little shrine to some "treasures" we have found around the house that were yours or that remind him directly of you.

Your hardhat

Your BMX racing trophy

A Caterpillar dumptruck

The cross keepsake that matches the one we placed in your casket

The putty you used for your occupational therapy to regain some hand mobility

A Caterpillar luggage tag

A magnetic shirt nametag with your name

One of your lanyards from the Diavek diamond mine you visited in Canada

And this is one collection that I can live with. It no longer looks like clutter and chaos.

It looks beautiful.

I miss you, Brian. We all do. I love you. We all do.



  1. we love you guys.......

  2. AnonymousMay 29, 2009

    How sweet....This post brought tears to my eyes..This little guy loves and misses his daddy very much. Praying for you all.

  3. What a healthy way Gavin has found as an outlet for his grief. Maybe you could help him add to his collection. Or even create an actual shrine somewhere in the house. My girlfriend lights candles each night in front of the picture of her husband that is on the kitchen bar. It helps.

  4. Oh bless him!! What a sweet boy you have there :)

  5. Your family continue to be in my prayers. This post made me cry, thinking of your sweet boy and his collection.

  6. That's so awesome! He sure does love and miss his daddy!

  7. Priceless...I think of your precious family quite often and am so thankful to have found your blog. You remind me to never take one single thing in life for granted. Hope you don't feel this is weird, but I've truly fallen in love with your little family~and pray for you all daily...thank you for finding a way into my heart....(((HUGS)))

  8. oh darlin' that is so sweet!
    God Bless you and your wonderful boys.

  9. Lovely collection. So glad he made a list!

  10. AnonymousMay 29, 2009

    How absolutely wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time....does that make sense?!?


  11. Sometimes I just want to reach out and hug you guys.

  12. Wow. I was pretty sure that you were headed that direction, but still got tears in my eyes reading it. What a boy! You gotta be proud of his putting that together! Still thinking of you often!

  13. What a sweet boy. It is a beautiful tablescape in honor of his daddy! So glad you didn't ditch it.

  14. angie.

    you know things. wow. what an amazing soul he has.

    peace. prayers.

  15. How lovely that you were able to see his collection for what it truly is. Beautiful.

  16. peepaw/peepsMay 30, 2009


    A beautiful blog and heartfelt tribute to a wonderful man. That is why we all Keep Believing.

  17. So bittersweet. The little man is keeping his daddy close.

  18. What a great collection!

  19. AnonymousMay 31, 2009

    Very beautiful. Praying for you and the boys everyday.


  20. I'm sobbing as I read your post--what a sweet little group of treasures to remind Gavin of his Daddy. Your post reminds me to treasure the little piles that accumulate on my daughter and son's nightstands. God bless you and your boys.

  21. I know we don't know each other at all, but I want to let you know that your posts touch me so much and that I think you are unbelievably honest and brave. You and your boys are in my thoughts and prayers.