On Thanksgiving Day 2008 Ben made the gingerbread house pictured above with Aunt Kim. He didn’t eat a single piece of candy, for he had no sweet tooth nor appetite. But he experienced a lot of joy in making it. I can remember his laughter as he piled all the candy on the inside, filling it up to the windows. I am so grateful to my sister for helping Ben make something tangible and therefore giving us a tradition to do each year that seemingly feels like Ben is a part of.
Here is Ryan’s 2014 house – he decorated it a few weeks ago at our cabin with Aunt Kristen and Uncle Andy’s sugary support. I have noticed since we brought it home though that various pieces of candy seem to now be missing. Hmmm…
Thankfully six years later Ben’s gingerbread house still remains in ours. The frosting has now yellowed, due to time and obsessive yearly shellacking (I’m pretty sure we have broken some City of Seattle ordinance or pollution law). It has started leaning slightly to the left. There is a small crack on one of the sides. I know one of these years we will go to unpack it and it will have finally crumbled, creating a ruin of glue covered candy. Perhaps the insane part of me will then want to eat it. I can see the headlines now, “Bereaved mother dies from shellac overdose.”
But for now it remains upright. For now it is a sweet reminder that our son was here. That his final days were spent in our house surrounded by those who loved him most.
From our house to yours…