Snuggling memories

remembering Mattias

Tiggy was never much of a snuggler. Most of my memories holding him involve him arching his back to get down. Once in awhile, he would lay his head in my lap and look up at me with those bright little eyes.


He would say, emphasis on the first syllable. I would stroke his wispy blond hair and he would return to his vroom vrooms.

Still, I worried when the baby came. He wasn’t interested in my lap, but what about when it was taken over by someone else? I had nothing to worry about. Mattias adored the new baby. When the baby cried, he became agitated, demanding I take care of him immediately. He’d run between me and the bassinet, take my hand and try to pull me.

“Baby! Baby!”

He would insist. And settle back to his vroom vrooms when the baby had taken his proper place in my arms. Sometimes he would sit next to me, rubbing the baby’s head and kissing him while he nursed. Sometimes he took the opportunity to commandeer the baby swing. But as soon as I said the baby needed it, he gathered his toy cars, lifted the tray and got out.

He adored his baby brother. But he was still a bit of a baby himself and I worried that he wasn’t getting enough attention.

“Do you want to sit in Mommy’s lap?”

I asked about two weeks before he died. He looked up at me and those hopeful little eyes said everything.

“Come on up. There’s room. See, mommy has two legs for two children.”

I shifted Micah in my arm so he could continue to nurse, but not take up my entire lap. Mattias climbed up, perched eagerly on my leg and patted the baby’s tummy. A little harder than I would have liked, but not much disturbs that little guy while he’s nursing. He beamed and I gave him a kiss and a little squeeze.

It lasted only a few moments before he got down to explore the world at my feet. There was more room there for cars and blocks and plastic farm animals. But for his last few days on this earth, he invited himself regularly into my lap, more than he ever had before. Sometimes he brought a toy to share with me.  Sometimes he brought his copy of Animal Babies, though he never sat still for more than one or two pages at a time. Sometimes he just sat there, looking quite pleased with himself, before pretending to swipe my nose and taking off giggling as he stuffed his pretend treasure into his mouth. Always his visits were brief.

Now Micah nurses alone and my nose remains where it belongs. The silence in the house aches, but I’m surrounded by memories. Beautiful memories. And though they frequently bring tears to my eyes, they also warm my aching heart.

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  1. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    It sounds like he was a very happy and very lovely little boy!


  2. Reply

    Jocelyn Tzahala

    January 17, 2011

    What precious memories of such a sweet life you have, to hold and keep with you always.

    You’re in our thoughts and prayers, Hanely family. May the Father give you peace and comfort in this time.


  3. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    (tight hugs)

  4. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    It is so good that the memories are becoming a little less painful. We are still here with you, praying for you and thinking about you every day.

  5. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    Beautiful memories! Thank you for sharing them. Mattias was such a loved little boy. You remain in my daily thoughts and prayers.

  6. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    I always fear that transition when the baby now becomes the big brother/sister. You never quite know how they’re going to react to it. Tiggy was a wonderful little boy, full of nurturing instinct. He is missed.

    Much love to you, Dana.

  7. Reply

    Sioux Baumgartner

    January 17, 2011

    What a special blessing God brought to you for those last precious days, an extra snuggly baby so that now when you need those blessed memories most you have something extra special to hold on to. Praying every day for strength and extra blessings from God for your whole family. Your memorial playground area sound beyond fantastic . . . what a special place that will be for you all.

  8. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    i think writing out your memories is a wonderful way to bring back your memories of your little guy. i also like your memorial playground idea.
    thinking of your family and praying for you all

  9. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    What a beautiful boy! You took the time to encourage him to snuggle with you, even when you were busy with the new baby. You weren’t too busy for Tiggy! He knew that and felt your love over and over again. You have been a great mother to him. My eyes always fill with tears when I read your posts, and I am not a cryer. I have a large family and my youngest will be three in May. Thank you for reminding me again and again to snuggle with and take time for my children. This is part of Tiggy’s legacy.

  10. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    I am praying for you and your family. A close friend lost her toddler in an accident two years ago. The pain does change over time and become more bearable. I hope and pray that you are able to remember the sweet moments that you had with your dear son.

  11. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    You’re doing fine. Keep writing, keep breathing. Inhale . . . exhale . . . 5 minutes at a time . . .

    Still Praying . . .

  12. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your memories. I’m so glad you have so many good ones to cling to. I feel as though I am getting to know Mattias through your stories and I hope it makes you feel good to know that I think of him throughout the day as I look at my 9 month-old son (who already loves vroom vrooms) – and I think it makes me a little more affectionate and a little more caring just by recognizing how fragile life can be.

    God bless you and keep you and your family in his arms.

  13. Reply

    Sheila Gregoire

    January 17, 2011

    That’s so beautiful. When my baby boy died, I made a list of “pictures” that I never wanted to forget, and I’m so glad I did, because now sometimes I have to read the list to conjure things up in my head. I remember how his tongue looked when he stuck it out in his sleep. I remember how he would suck his thumb in his sleep (my girls never did that). I remember his wide eyes, and his cry, and all kinds of things that I wrote down and cherished.

    I remember, too, what it is like to feel like you can’t breathe because the ache hurts so much. But know that each day that passes is not one day further away from your baby, and one day closer to the day when you will see him again.

    I wrote one of my columns a few years ago for parents who had lost babies, called “A Prayer Through Tears”, and turned it into a video. You can watch it here, if you’d like:

    It’s my prayer for you.

  14. Reply

    Susan Beth

    January 17, 2011

    I can’t even imagine, but I sure do respect your ability to breath and love and be.

  15. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    Aching for you and praying. I see the Lord so clearly in all these posts!

  16. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    Sheila, when I held him at the hospital after he had died, I told him I’d write down all his little stories. Partly for me, partly for his siblings. I haven’t really been able to do that, yet. We talk about them a lot, and I’ve written a little here but I’m just now feeling ready to pull out a notebook and begin collecting them.

  17. Reply


    January 17, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your memories of Tiggy with me. Each one is so precious. Tiggy was born the week after my son and they look so much alike. I treasure each and every post you have written and you are in my prayers always.

  18. Reply


    January 18, 2011

    I first heard your story a few days ago through a link at Since then, you and your family have rarely left my thoughts. I know that people around the country are praying for you, and I’m joining them.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It reminds me and all of us how precious life is, and how blessed we are to have our children, for as long as we get to hold them.

    My soul is heavy for you, and my prayers are unceasing.

  19. Reply


    January 18, 2011

    Your words are so achingly beautiful. I hope that doesn’t sound offensive. But your words, your perfectly chosen and strung together words, have the ability to take me where you are, to feel what you feel and in turn that guides my prayer for you and your family. I know what you need because you have described your ache so perfectly and I feel it deeply along side you. And I am so sorry for that ache and the ache of your little ones. What a gift you are giving each one of them as you allow them to freely express their hurt without restriction or thought of your own pain. I am so very, truly sorry your little Tiggy flew away far too soon. I am so, so sorry that yiu all witnessed the accident and that those images still occupy your mind and the minds of your children. i am so sorry Dana. You are prayed for. And while I do not know you and never knew your Mattias, I see him through your words and comet know him from your wordsand because if your words, your beautiful words, I remember the little boy with the wispy blonde hair, shining blue eyes who loved his vroom vrooms, farm animals and baby brother. Because of your words, I remember Tiggy!

  20. Reply


    January 18, 2011

    What precious memories. Thankyou for sharing these with us. Still praying for you and your family.

  21. Reply


    January 18, 2011

    My son is the same age. I love almost every stage as a child grows, but this is one of my favorites. Their wide eyed innocence and curiosity with a streak of trouble. I often say it’s hard to be mad at someone so sweet.

    Since I discovered your blog, I have cried with you and held my son close cherishing his life and mourning for your loss. My heart aches for you. I feel almost guilty as I share in your memories with my living child.

    Sending love your way.

  22. Reply


    January 18, 2011

    Praying for your family often.

  23. Reply

    Dianne - Bunny Trails

    January 19, 2011

    What a sweet blessing to have these precious memories. Love this picture of him. Continuing to pray for your family.

  24. Reply


    January 19, 2011

    Keep writing and telling, Dana. I love hearing your Tiggy stories!

  25. Reply


    January 24, 2011

    your Tiggy looks so much like my Ace when he was this age! Making me cry all over again for your loss. My children come by sometimes when I’m reading your blog and they are so sad for you and I tell them that they can pray for you, but they haven’t quite learned the power of prayer yet. Many hugs dear one as you continue to grieve.

    ps~ Ace didn’t agree that he looks like Tiggy, I will have to dig out a photo for him to see.


January 13, 2011
January 25, 2011