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,