Getting Away & Returning to Open Arms

Getting away was really good for us. Before we left I had this mantra running through my head “if I can just make it through the 12th…if I can just make it through the 12th”. I got really fearful that I would not be able to survive the day. The idea of the day itself became so huge in my head; I was so scared that I would be replaying every moment in my head from a year ago; that I would drive myself crazy. But I didn’t. I lived out the day. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t impossible. It took effort, but I did it.

Being away all together as a family and staying busy together really helped. It not only made the time bearable and pass quickly, it also made for smiles and laughter together. I also heard we missed a week of rain here which would have also been tough as last year we also had a week of rain right after Ethan died.

Knowing that others were thinking of us really helped as well. I received so many sweet texts and emails. I think it also helped that our phones did not work on the cruise so that I could not feel disappointment in not hearing from others on the anniversary of Ethan’s death.


I wanted you to know that I’m thinking of you today. You never thought you’d make it a whole year. But you did. You are strong. Stronger than you think. It’s just one of the many gifts Ethan gave to you and Adam.

May you be each other’s comfort today and always.

Much love,

Have a safe trip lady…I’ll be thinking of you all week xoxo

I’m not sure if you even have your phone with you, but I want you to know that I am thinking about you constantly. Each day I come home and light a candle for sweet Ethan and remember the light his precious life was and continues to be for our world. I pray that you are having a relaxing and healing time with adam, evan, and your sister. Love you!!! xoxoxoxoxo

You and your boys are on my mind today. Stay strong and know that many people love you and are thinking of you.

I can’t remember when you get back, but want you to know I’m thinking about you. 🙂

It warms my heart to hear Evan getting excited about meeting his baby sister.

“When baby sister is on the cruise with us, she is going to want to drink the water in the hot tub. She’s not going to die like baby Ethan. Where’s baby Ethan?”

“On the moon.” (When Adam and I, following the advice of the child psychiatrist, told him that Ethan was on a star, Evan decided that Ethan was actually on the moon.)

“What’s he doing up there?”

“Playing, watching us, missing us”

“Why isn’t he here with us?”

“He died.”


“He was born with a disease.”


“We don’t know why and the doctors don’t know why.”

Then as I begin thinking about how much I miss my baby boy, Evan abruptly changes the topic to something trivial. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he’s three.

We returned home Sunday after being gone for ten days to some beautiful cards.

Dear Beth and Adam,

The beginning of March will always be a time that we think of Ethan, your beautiful son.

As you both carry the weight of the world in your hearts, I hope you truly know that we too are shedding tears and hoping to bear some of that for you in any way.

This year has passed and what your amazingly strong and beautiful family has been through is profound, and deeply painful, something that as a mother and father, it seems unbearable, and yet you two have remained loving parents to Evan and renewed your vows to each other strengthening that bond. Your family, the Galantés, symbolize beauty, strength, courage, and perseverance. I can imagine you may not feel that now but it is there, a part of you a wonderful way to honor Ethan’s life. I know this will be a lifetime of healing so give yourself to that process, whatever that is for each of you and know that we are here to listen. We love you both deeply.

Thinking of you,

Daria & Leo

That night was full of nightmares. I was so nervous to return to school the next day. I even dreamed I lost Evan; that he was missing. After that I did not want to go back to sleep.

Monday at the end of the school day, the school had a memorial for Ethan where they dedicated a bench in his memory. It was so beautiful. The same rabbi who led Ethan’s funeral led it. A small group of teachers, staff, administrators, parents and middle schoolers came along with Adam and my sister Natasha (who is visiting for the week). The ceremony was all of ten minutes, but it truly felt like it lasted an hour. It was so powerful all of us standing together in a circle holding hands, singing and crying. It felt so wonderful to receive a hug from everyone there.

On Tuesday, the eighth graders, who were unable to attend the ceremony the day before, invited me into their classroom and had a small ceremony for Ethan. We all stood in a circle and said the mourner’s kaddish together. One of the eighth grade teachers, who led the ceremony, asked each of the kids to go out into the world and do a good deed holding Ethan in their heart. It was so special. My heart felt so full as I walked around the circle hugging each student.

I asked that the bench be on the playground so it can always be surrounded with laughter. And it is. It has been so nice to sit on Ethan’s bench each day basking in the sunlight and taking the time to enjoy nature and the smiles of the children all around me.


3 thoughts on “Getting Away & Returning to Open Arms

  1. What a wonderful tribute to your precious Ethan.

  2. Lyndell says:

    it is so lovely to hear of your community coming around you like that 🙂

  3. Karen Broido says:

    That is such a beautiful tribute!

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