Saturday, January 12, 2013

Boxes of Memories

As some of you know I’ve recently been inspired to clean out and get rid of things that no longer serve me and get them to people who can use these items. You know the likes – boxes of clothing a size too small that one-day will fit again, or coats for skiing when one no longer skis. These things are no longer of value to me, but for another person, it’s just the item they need. It’s been gratifying to let go of these things I’ve clung on to for so many years and to watch as they go to people who really need and appreciate them.

And then there are those things that you forget about, things that have incredible meaning and value, even if only to you. One of the things I found in a storage container last week was the top of a pair of men’s pajamas. They belonged to my late husband, Calvin. Although it’s been nearly 18 years since he passed away, I still remember buying him those pajamas and how he wore them those last two months until the day he died. Green and navy stripes with small red squares that look a bit like a Scottish tartan. Silky fabric.  Floods of memories…

Recently I came down with what I can only think is the flu as I was knocked down into bed for the past 48 hours. I pulled the top out of the drawer and wore it these past two days but it was only today I noticed it… the thing that knocked me down again, this time to my knees in tears. It was so small I might have missed it. A tiny pin attached to the lapel. I couldn’t see it clearly with out my glasses buy it didn’t matter. I knew immediately what it was and when it found it’s home on my husband’s pajamas, and why.

My husband was a good husband and father. His children adored him, all of them, but he had a special relationship with our youngest son, Tyler who was born seven years after our last child. Being older parents perhaps we were more prepared to enjoy him than when we were both working full time and trying to raise several children. Anyway, I digress… The pin.

Tyler had barely turned six-years-old when his dad was diagnose with terminal cancer. He watched, as we all did, his hero shrivel up and disappear. It was hard times for everyone. Dark days. But a light in everyday was when little Tyler came home from school. I could hear him as he ran up the stairs into his father’s bedroom every afternoon. “Hi Daddy”, he would say softly putting his tiny hand on his daddy’s shoulder. Cal would awaken from his near constant sleep and smile. “Do you need some fresh water Daddy?” he would ask. “Yes please,” Cal would respond.  And so it would go day after day.

One day Tyler ran up the stairs to his Daddy’s bedroom and he couldn’t wake him up, so instead he placed his new Boy Scout pin, Bear Cats, on the lapel of his daddy’s pj’s. “So he’ll know I was here,” he said with a smile.

Today, laying in this bed for the second day in a row I noticed this small pin on the pajamas I was wearing and a flood of memories washed over me—some heart wrenching, some sweet.

Life has a way of moving on when you aren’t watching. It’s astounding to me that in less than a month it will have been 18 years since Calvin died. That sweet boy Tyler now has a sweet son of his own.

I’m thankful for the memories, the good ones and the hard ones.  I’m thankful for a husband who gave me a beautiful family and a good life and in spite of all the stuff I’ve uselessly held on to for so many years, I’m thankful today I kept this silky pajama top and the pin my son placed on it 18 years ago.

© Cynthia Stewart is an international speaker and the author of many books, which
Include Dream Big! and Creating Wealth on The Web. Through many challenges that she has fought and won, Cynthia knows first-hand how to dream big and has dedicated her life to empower other’s to stand-up, step-out, and reach their dreams. She can be reached at

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