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Monday, April 6, 2009
A Salvaged Egg Hunt
Before Daniel passed, other than in the course of having been a nurse, I think I only ever had met two other families who'd lost a child. One was a former head nurse who lost her only daughter in a car accident, and another lost her children in a fire. The second family went on to have more children.
We have a family tradition that Daniel very much enjoyed. Around Easter, we fill plastic Easter eggs with wrapped candy and I hide them all over the large front yard. Then each kid gets a basket and works to find as many as they can. This was a major countdown even for Daniel from the time he was very small, and he was included in the tradition in one way or another from the time he was less than one. When our daughter Stephanie developed diabetes, we were determined not to alter the tradition, so we continued, and for Stephanie, we allowed her to trade each piece of candy in the egg for either a piece of sugarless candy (which still needs to be regulated) or dimes. Most times she selected to trade candy for the dimes and so the tradition continued. Of course our two eldest kids are in college and probably really don't enjoy this manner of celebration at all anymore. In fact, I think last year only Stephanie, Matt and Dan participated.
This year we chose to continue. Daniel would have wanted the Easter egg hunt to occur and he may even be watching it. We did decide to make a change though. Since everyone is in college, and desperately needs money, we decided to make it interesting. I loaded tons of eggs with quarters, ranging from one to four in each egg. Adam, Stephanie, and Matthew all happily participated. It took them longer than usual to find all the eggs and Daniel and his enthusiasm were palpably missing, but we still did it. He would have been proud.
Shortly after the hunt ended, our barn builder arrived to look at the job site. They are a nice couple and have a family owned business that does nice work. Daniel would be excited about the "new house" being built for all his animals. It turned out that their 12 year old daughter died a few years ago as a result of leukemia. It seems as if since our loss, we are learning of so many acquaintances who have lost children, but we didn't know, and most don't mention it. It seems that as time goes on, we are building new friendships with those who have experienced something similar to our experience, but we also have distance between many of our friends who have children and have not experienced such a loss.