The Toy Box

Updated: Jun 28

Have you ever been moving through your day and suddenly been hit by an emotion you weren’t expecting? I was ‘gutted’ by a toy box!


We recently moved to a new town where we would be closer to some family with small children. While settling into the house and moving things around, I decided we needed a toy box for the little people who would be visiting. Our son had recently passed away and I knew that we had some of his favourite toys and books which would do nicely.

As I rummaged around in the closet under the stairs, I was surprised to find the two boxes had been moved into the back corner of the closet. Hmmm, I hadn’t meant to put Ben in the corner or out of the way. So far away, I thought to myself with a chuckle. Sorry Ben, I mused as I pulled the boxes out of the basement and moved them upstairs.

It wasn’t until I opened the boxes that it hit me.

Memories. So many precious memories.

The sight of the little board books, the stuffed animals, and his best friends Ernie and Bert hit me light a physical weight.

They had been Ben’s favourite toys.

Tears sprang to my eyes unexpectedly as a sob escaped my chest. I decided to embrace the grief. Feel the feelings. Let the tears flow. Thanks to my counsellor I knew the best reaction was to acknowledge grief. Name the feeling of sorrow. Allow the tears to flow. Healing comes in the release. “I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13b

After a few moments I took a deep cleansing breath. I dried my tears. I smiled at the toys and books. Then I carefully selected a few for the new toy box. Bert and Ernie wouldn’t be going into the shared box just yet. I smiled as I remembered how possessive Ben had been about sharing his toys, especially Ernie and Bert!


Ben has been gone just over a year and I miss him. The sharpest sadness isn’t every day anymore. However, there are moments when the grief is as fresh as the day we lost him and sometimes I come undone. Sometimes by something as simple as a toy box!


I smiled at the joy that these toys could bring to our visiting little people as they took on new life in our new home, making new memories, with new children. The beauty of this new toy box is that the memory of Ben will live on in the JOY of his favourite books and toys to be shared with a new generation who never had the opportunity to know Ben. Now they will share in his joy. One book or toy at a time. And a little piece of me can see him every day in the living room, no longer tucked away, forgotten, out of sight, in the basement.


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