Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Caleb

I've thought about what to say, what to write here after 2 years. Is there more to say? Have I left anything out? I've told his story, what little there is to tell. The real story doesn't have words and it continues on each day, even though he is long gone from me. Physically gone that is. I guess that is what becomes so hard. As each day passes he slips farther away from my physical self. The memory of his kicks and rolls within me dim and are overshadowed by the nightmare of his birth. The feeling of him literally slipping out of my body and away from this earth. The hollowness of my empty belly, the numbness of my legs and mind, they are what I remember.
I think from the outside to the casual and even not so casual observer, I appear healed. I'm not.

There is no real healing when you lose a child. There is no point in time where you are able to evaluate your loss and make peace with it. Not for me. It will never be okay, it will never sit comfortably in my cache of emotional baggage as something I have 'gotten over'. Yes, I have resumed my life, I have laughed again, I have been silly, I have thrown a party or two and I have even had another baby, but none of those things have made any difference in the loss of my son, Caleb. His absence is still enormous. I look at my three living children as they play together, the two older ones fawning over their little brother and I see him, not there. I even stop myself sometimes when I think how happy it makes me to see them all together and I think of him, not here, missing the tickles of his siblings, missing their light kisses on his head, missing their continuous antics to make a giggle erupt, and I think how robbed he was, how robbed we all were. My oldest recently said to me out of nowhere, "I wish we had them both here mom.", and I knew it is not just me who feels that his absence is so huge that it is palpable.

A day has not gone by where I haven't thought of him, missed him, yearned for him. I think people believe that losing a baby, a child, is like any other death. They acknowledge the greater tragedy, but not the greater grief. What makes the grief so hard for me is that there just isn't that point where I can look back and reminisce and share fond memories of him and his life. There is no past with which I can comfort myself in the future. His past is his death. His tiny, short life within me was just exactly that, within me. No one else shared it. No one else even saw him, only my husband and I. And his pictures are not ones that bring me comfort. They break me. They reflect a baby who had his life stolen away from him. A perfectly tiny baby with every tiny piece of his body in place, ready to face life only to have it choked out of him by a cord defect. I can't reminisce or look back fondly on our time together because it all wraps itself in the cloak of his numbered days with me. With us.

He permeates my being. He is such a huge part of who I am and yet to most people he doesn't exist. If he is acknowledged at all it is because someone might say or think, "Oh yea, she is the one whose baby died." which makes it about me and my loss not about him and what he lost.
I remember sitting with him at the mortuary telling him he was wanted and loved and trying to reassure myself that I told him all the things I should tell him but having no idea how to do it. My husband left the room, he couldn't even bear to look at Caleb, just as he doesn't talk about him now. Too much. Way too much. So I sat alone with him, just as I sit alone with his memory now, and I try to make sure I say the right things, that I tell him what he needs to know, that I do right by him.

Even now as he drifts farther away from me, I feel the need to pull him closer. To make myself remember the tiniest of details about him and his brief time here on this earth. And to make his life meaningful, to make it matter, to make sure that it is clear he mattered, that he still does and that he always will, matter. I never want anyone to think he is something I got over. I won't. I will live my life without him, everyday. And everyday I will think of him, I will miss him, I will love him and I will wish like hell he was still here. Because like my son, I want both of them, Cason and Caleb, here.

Two years ago, on September 1, 2007, I gave birth to my son Caleb. He never took a breath, cried or opened his eyes. He never felt my hand as I lifted his foot to look at his tiny perfect toes. He never heard my cries as I felt him leave my body. He never heard me tell him I love him. But I said it anyway and still do to this day. I whisper it to the winds and the skies and hope that he hears it. Hope that he knows, that he knew.

People say that there isn't a word to describe the pain you feel when you lose a child. In my head I say yes, there is, and I whisper,

Caleb.

26 comments:

ezra'smommy said...

Crying with you. This is beautiful.

Catherine W said...

Remembering Caleb.

I hope he knows too. That he knew, that he knows.

angie said...

Gorgeous post. What you say about grief is so true, I found myself nodding with you. Your Caleb is missed in this world. I am lighting a candle and remembering him today.

Hope's Mama said...

These words you speak to honour your son are stunning, simply stunning.

Aunt Becky said...

Remembering Caleb now and always.

Michele said...

He did hear that I love you. He hears it now. He always will.

Mourning his loss and celebrating your little boy's beautiful life with you today. Tears and joy. Pain and joy. Caleb will always be remembered and loved.

c. said...

I've been thinking about you all week. Beautiful post, K. I miss him, too. XO.

janis said...

This is such a poignant, beautiful post, and speaks to my heart. I am in tears.
Missing him with you. xo

Kathy said...

Wow! That was beautiful... I just bawled reading and remembering with you. Caleb will never be forgotten, he was here, he mattered and I believe that he does know (and always will) how much you love him. Holding you close in my thoughts and prayers as you honor the memory of your son.

"What we have once enjoyed and loved deeply we can never lose. For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." ~ Helen Keller

Fireflyforever said...

What beautiful words you speak about your beautiful son. Remembering Caleb because he mattered and he matters still.

G$ said...

All love to you, Caleb and the whole family. xoxoxox

Heather said...

Thinking about you today. Remembering Caleb.

CLC said...

Beautiful post. Crying with you and missing Caleb too.

Reese said...

A mother's love knows no bounds....

Remembering Caleb today.......

Reba said...

what beautiful words about your much loved caleb. i'm so sorry he is not here with you, too.

Ya Chun said...

Beautiful.

He was robbed of his chance at this life.

Hugs to you and your family.

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

Holding you close in my thoughts and prayers as you honour Caleb's life and memory.

September 1st is a special day to me too. I remember it as the day I too said hello, goodbye too soon to my only daughter...stillborn 5 yrs ago.

I wish I could put my thoughts into words like you ...I can relate,I nodded too.

Yes their past is their death.We have no living memories of them bare womb memories to comfort us.
We may have the bittersweet memories of cradling them, whispering and hoping we gave them enough love to last a lifetime but it will never be enough.
We were robbed and what we lost is immeasurable.

loribeth said...

This is perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Life does go on... but it is never, ever OK that they are not here with us.

Sue said...

Oh, the tears flow...

A beautiful, loving letter for your son. Thinking of you, and Caleb, and your whole family.

Akul's mama said...

I cried as I read your post because you have been able to express what we all feel...noone knows our babies and no one has any memories of them to share. What we had with our babies was our future and when our babies die, our future is snatched away from us.....Our dreams are destroyed.

charmedgirl said...

all of this is so true. at two years, it's a struggle. it's a struggle mostly because everyone has forgotten...and it's confusing and it hurts, because we're supposed to forget too. what the fuck are we supposed to DO? the hardest thing is that we can't really do anything except whisper their names.

and i say caleb's name. i say the names of the babies close to my heart that live with my paige.

Delenn said...

Coming from LAFCA. You wrote so eloquently and thoughtfully about your loss. I do not know you, but I feel you and I feel Caleb. Thank you for sharing him with us.

Sophie said...

Yes, yes, yes and yes. I feel the same.

I've been struggling with how to explain how I feel of late. I feel like I am resuming life, not getting over my loss, but moving forward.

Remembering sweet Caleb. You are in my thoughts.

xx

Jessica said...

Hello, I found you through LFCA and this is such a beautiful post. I truely believe Caleb hears everything you say to him. He knows how much he is loved by his mommy. *hugs*

Emily said...

I've lit a candle for Caleb. In a couple of months, we'll live through the 1 year anniversary of the passing of our daughter Rana, stillborn the day after Thanksgiving. Needless to say, we will be ignoring Thanksgiving this year. Hug all of your children close. That's what I do now. I try to focus on my son, the incredible, climbing, running, squealing, happy, living two year old while I wish I had my little girl snuggled up next to us, too. You're right. The grief is different when you lose a child. It changes something in you in a way that nothing else does. Many of my husband's students are refugees from everywhere. Some families have lost the majority of their members, even watched them lose their lives--Their children, spouses, aunts, uncles, parents...then they lose their country, learn a new language, try to move on, try to keep living and they often do a very good job of it. But they're different than people who've lost very little to nothing. Even if they eventually can go back, it won't be the same. We're like refugees who've moved to another country, learned a new language, remember what we thought would and wasn't, remember what happened to force us into exile. We live daily life with our new language that doesn't have a detectable accent, so most people don't pick up on it. Certain things trigger what look like odd reactions to other people, just like the young boy I met who won't play soccer anymore because before he came here, his soccer ball rolled onto a dead body.
We have our own activities, things, experiences that we avoid. And life goes on. Many of these students do very well. Their siblings are born here and don't have the same memories, but it's possible to transmit the empathy for suffering without transmitting the memory and pain. We can give our kids who live something special. We make our own meaning in life. The entire experience is part of us and gives us something more to integrate, to make our meaning deeper, broader. Only loss can do this.

Caz said...

A beautiful post. My baby girl was born sleeping just over 2 weeks ago and I feel like you do.. life is carrying on for everyone else and I feel it is up to me to mourn my child. I never want to forget her. I never want to not miss her. People say "it will get better" - i am not sure I want it to. I want her life to count and to matter regardless of whether others knew her or not.