My nephew, Bridger, and I have a very special bond. He is one of my very favorite people in the whole world. I was in the room when he was born, and this scared me very badly and almost made me not want to have a baby of my own, until I got to be around him all the time and realized what fun having a little boy could be. I call him Puppy. He does not particularly like nicknames and will often correct people when they use one with him, “My name is Bridger.” But he will tell people that he is “Noey’s Puppy.”
There are lots of great Bridger stories.
Sawan’s favorite was this one.
My parents and Bridger’s other set of grandparents were giving my sister and brother in law a break and taking the boys (Bridger and his brother, Caid) for a couple of weeks. The other set of grandparents live in Billings, MT and we all still lived in Denver. Bridger was four and a half. The boys had spent the week in Billings and it was my parent’s turn to have them, so they met halfway in Casper, WY to trade off. The designated meet-up place was McDonalds.
The boys got to play on the playground there, and get happy meals. The prize in the happy meal was a really cool Star Wars Storm Trooper.
Sawan and I were at my parent’s house when they came home with the boys, and we hung out with them for a little while. They were road weary, but very excited to show us their toys. My mom started immediately getting them ready for bed, and as this was happening, we realized that Bridger’s storm trooper was missing. He started crying and a search party was formed. After several minutes of looking, my dad took a knee next to the distraught Bridger and, trying to reason with him, or get him to think it through, tried to help him retrace his steps.
“So, Bridger, you had it when you came in from the car, then you showed it to Sawan. Then you were playing with it upstairs. Do you remember what you did with it after that?” Dad asks.
Bridger nods through his tears, “Yeah, I think so.”
Dad’s face lights up, and we’re all thinking, “Alright, this is working, now we’re going to find it.”
Dad says, “What did you think you did with it?”
Bridger responds, “I think I LOST it.”
We all died laughing. I can still remember Sawan being so tickled. The sound of his laugh still rings in my ears.
When I relayed this story to Cori, Bridger’s mom, though, she didn’t laugh as hard as we had. She said that Bridger thinks of “lost” like a place. There had been another toy that he couldn’t find and he had been so frustrated with her when he had explained that he knew exactly where it was…lost.
This became an inside joke between Sawan and I whenever we couldn’t find anything. Baby, have you seen my belt? Yeah, I know where it is. Lost.
I know that this journey is different for everyone. I feel so sorry for people who are on the outside because it is so easy to say the wrong thing. I have another widow friend who hates it when people say that she “lost” her husband. I can totally see why she would think this. She says that he was not a set of keys. But for some reason, this is the most comforting way for me to communicate that my husband is dead. I say that I lost him. I picture “lost” like Bridger, as the place that all of our favorite things disappear to. I think Sawan’s up there in heaven, playing with Bridger’s storm trooper.