Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullabye
Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullabye
Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullabye

And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take.

I am still here. You are still gone.

I love you Caleb and I will miss you forever.

Friday, June 25, 2010

In which 'them' = 'us'

She was one of them.

She had other kids, both younger than mine and at the same time, the same age as mine. She was visibly pg with her third, when I was only hoping I might be pg with my fourth...after. She wore her pregnancy as a favorite old discarded t-shirt. She threw it on without any thought. It just was. She barked out orders to her other two kids, she was annoyed by their complaints, as much as she was committed, to her Turrets afflicted son's inclusion into all things 'normal'. She grew her hair long and then cut it off for kids with cancer, and no one really knew, unless you knew her. She wasn't overly friendly, in fact, to be honest, I never really got her. She seemed distant, and uninterested in anything or anyone other than her kids.

For the last four years, I saw her and her growing family, on a daily basis because her kids and mine, swim on the same team. We've never been introduced, we are not BFF's., but we know each other, if only for the hours we spend on 'deck', watching our kids swim. But, we don't talk. Beyond the regular "Hey," and "Hi" and "What's new?"...not a whole lot.

Then, she has a baby, a daughter, when I am half way through my pg with Cason. She literally delivers her daughter and then hours, maybe a day or two later, walks into a swim meet, baby Emily, tucked into a sling across her chest. I hated her. Because it all came too easily. For everything good she did, I would watch her with her kids and think, WTF!? She isn't a lifetime/Hallmark movie mom. She yells at them, she ignores them, she dismisses them. But, she mother's them. Her way. Her choice.

Months later, my mom fills in for me, taking kids to practice, after Cason is born. She comments on 'the mom'. I am so out of it, I can only tell mom, "Yeah, she's different.". My mom tells me that all the other moms are talking about how this mom and baby Emily are going to be on T.V. because she knows how to swim at less than a year old...

Come Spring, Cason tucked into his stroller, baby Emily is walking around the pool deck, un assisted. The collective group of moms help to watch her as her mom tends to her older brother and sister. I remember, so clearly, an afternoon last summer, when Emily had climbed underneath the bleachers beyond our eyesight, her mom, in a voice of sheer panic, screamed "Where is she?!" I knew where she was and told her, she's here, she's right here.

She scooped her up and took her away, never looking back at me.

And so our parallel lives continued. At the last swim meet I took all the kids to, end of last summer, Cason and Emily hung out together. It wasn't a love connection, but it was a peek into the world of, "hey, you(Cason) can have a play date while you are stuck in the middle of the aquatic hell your older sibs have rained down on you...) kind of moment.

My daughter, the one who required me to sit poolside, quit, swim, last September. So I no longer had to sit poolside. My son still swims. Swam all winter, all Spring. I am 'good' friends with many of the moms who sit poolside, but not good enough that we kept in contact with each other when my deck time was halted.

My daughter started up again last month. I am back on deck. Hanging out with the same moms, talking about what I did while away, what they did, what the kids are up to. Regular bull shit. Didn't see the other mom or her kids. Last week I did. Didn't really pay much attention. The other day her eldest(8 or 9) came stomping across the deck to yell at her mother that she was being put in a group with kids who DON"T KNOW HOW TO SWIM!! while yelling she also accidentally let some spit fly right into her mom's face. Mom yelled back. After it was over I told her, boy I see trouble in your future. I feel for you cuz I'll be there too. She kinda laughed, we did the casual chat thing and it was over.

She's been there all week, with just the older kids. Dad must be taking care of Emily now that summer is here. But it felt off to me. Yesterday, she was sitting next to me in a tube top like dress. She got up to go do something and I saw it. On her left shoulder blade, about the size of a greeting card, a precious moments angel tattoo, the angel is holding a banner that reads, "Emily".

What to do. What to do. What to do. I wish I could tell you that I manned up and asked her. But I didn't. I asked the one mom who I am friends with who was also there yesterday(everyone else is on vacation). I told her I hadn't seen the baby and now I saw this tattoo. Did she die? Yes. She. Died. Bathtub. Drowning. She doesn't know very much. I need to talk to my other friend when she gets back. She knows what happened and when.

I am lost. I am now one of 'them'. I have what she does not. Cason is a shadow baby. And I don't know what to do. I mean I know what to do, but I am afraid of it. I will do it. Because I know what it feels like when people ignore your dead baby. I know what it feels like to sit next to me and be forced to see what you no longer have. I know what it feels like to hate me. And I know what it feels like to lose your child.

My heart is broken for that family. For that beautiful little girl who did not live to see her 2nd birthday.

And now, her mother, she is one of us.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


If you'd asked me back in September of 2007 or in the months that followed, what I hoped for my future, I don't know if I could have answered the question. At least not wholly. I might, on any given day, have answered, "To have it all go away." or "To have another baby." or "To be in a place where it doesn't HURT all the God Damn Time." or "To be in a place where I can talk openly and no one will judge." or "To be able to take this whole nightmare and find a way...out." or "To not be DEFINED by this, forever." Or some variation of one of those answers.
On any given day, after you birth your dead baby, I think any one of those sentiments may find itself flittering around your brain. They did mine. I never knew from one moment to the next which one would show up, but I knew one of them would.
And then I found this place.
The writing that followed once I set up shop here, was sometimes bad I am sure, hopefully sometimes good, but always, always, honest. And it helped me, more than any words I could ever hope to conjure up or pluck from the sky will ever be able to tell. But I imagine, for anyone who has been to hell and is fighting their way back, you know what I mean.

So I am profoundly humbled to share the news that sometime last year I was asked to contribute to a work in progress, a book that was being built, piece by piece, story by story, that would offer to others, what this place here, offered to me. Real life. And hope.
I did contribute as did many others, from very different perspectives, and this book, it is going to be published! Come November, "They Were Still Born" will become a reality.

I am but a small part of this project but am so damn proud to be there. The writing of my part was hard. Much harder than I thought or even anticipated it would be. (And I have no doubt that the makers of all things alcoholic are very grateful for that.) All (well, if any are left) who read here who pick up the book will know my real identity. I ask for your help in maintaining my privacy here. I kept my blog name out of the 'biography' for me so that should I decide to share this news with my IRL family and friends, they won't be able to find this place, my place, of refuge.

I don't know what the finished product will hold. I have only read a handful of the other contributors pieces, but I have great hope for it and for its place as another valuable resource for all of those who have joined our club.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Okay, so FINALLY, after almost 18 months, he's decided to walk. Apparently, the hold up was all about how to take 'bear' with him. Now that he's got that all figured out, all systems seem to be "GO".

ETA...the pic seems small, so just in case, 'bear', clenched in teeth...feet almost firmly, look out:0)

Monday, April 26, 2010

T-Shirts Anyone?

Cara at Building Heavenly Bridges is gearing up for SHARE Southern Vermont's second annual Memory Walk. They have created a beautiful T-Shirt for the event. The shirts are available for purchase on her site.

Go over and have a look. I'll bet you don't leave without picking up one (or more) for yourself:)

I left with 5!

Just in case anyone is actually still checking in here, I have many posts in the queue but just haven't been able to get them finished. I hope to have something new to contribute, soon.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hoppy Easter

But, if you really want some serious Easter Hilarity, hop over to Aunt Becky's place. She cooked up some of her own, personalized greeting cards. Hallmark, watch your ass, she's gonna kick it, hard. Here's my favorite:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My little Leprechaun

In my mind, today is Cason's birthday. Yes, he was born on November 17th, 9 months from this date, but this date, March 17, St. Patrick's Day, this is the one where he was born in my dreams. This date was the date I found out he was a possibility. And even though I spent the next nine months biting my nails, closing my eyes to shut out the ever present fear and crying, lots of that, I still, at some point almost every day would allow myself to hope, that maybe, just maybe, a live baby was coming.

And he did.

And we named him Cason Patrick, because on March 17th, he, my very own little leprechaun, planted a tiny fleck of hope in my oh so weary heart, enough to begin to chase the snakes that had taken up residence there away and for the first time in months I began to dare to imagine that I really didn't know how the whole story was going to end. And that maybe, just maybe, a new chapter was beginning.
And as luck would have it, I did indeed, catch me a leprechaun.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The name game

I was always in charge of finding names for our kids. I had my first sons name chosen, (almost) before he was born. Way before. Yes, I was one of those idiot types who picks out names for my imaginary kids long before they ever came to fruition. Hell, long before the guarantee of a second date was even in the picture. I look back at that version of self and both ridicule and stand in awe of my utter optimism.


That being said, as time marched on and after the marriage thing and my fertility, our fertility, seemed to check out ok, I was in charge of the lists. Then we would go over the names and when we agreed, bingo.

First C., like I said, I had it all picked out. It was a favorite name of mine, uncommon, I never wanted to name a baby a name that I associated with anyone else, it was not easily turned into a nickname or shortened into something else and when I put my dad's name in the middle, they worked together. The husband liked the sound of it and the baby complied by being a boy, so we got our C.

Next up, C2. Not on purpose. I never intended to be a 'all my kids names start with the same letter' sort of parent. But we have an odd last name and the hard C or K sound flows well with it. We do like names that are unusual. Neither of us wanted our kids to be John H, or John W, etc in class. We had two great names ready for baby 2. I was really, really pulling for a girl because I so loved the girl name we had chosen. And we got to use it. I love saying it. I love hearing it. I love seeing the quizzical looks on peoples faces when they hear it. She carries a unique first name and my favorite grandma's nickname as a middle name which is also, to say the least, unusual. But it suits her. It's perfect.

We had only just decided on a name for 'the baby', at least a boy's name, the week before we lost him. It was another unusual first name. A "C" name and then the middle name was the last name of a very close friend who had died a few years before.

When we were told that our baby had died we were asked if we would want to name 'it'. We still didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl. We both, without even talking about it, said no, it will be "Baby _" fill in last name initial. And that was how we left things. Even after he was born, after I asked, "Is it a boy?" and the nurse said, "Yes, did you know?" (confirming my suspicions that indeed he was, a boy). We told her that on the birth certificate it should read "Baby Boy _".

It wasn't until after we got home that I changed my mind. I wanted him to have his own name. And so we named him Caleb. The story of why we chose that name is here.

I had never known anyone with that name before. That was one of my naming 'criteria', to not have another face to put with my child's name. The thing is, when you are so NOT religious, like me, you forget, that other people might actually name their kids names found in the Bible. And, even though our kids attend public school, turns out, those other people might not keep their kids at private school. And, as I so harshly found out, they might even have a little boy the same age as my daughter and he might just end up in her Kindergarten class. And as luck might have it, I might get to sit down at a tiny little 'phonics' station, in a tiny little kinder sized chair on my first day back to reality after my Caleb had died having come to fulfill my volunteer time in the classroom (xanax thankfully fully on board, although the next dose was stupidly left out in my car, 20 endless feet stretching between me and it, THAT would never happen again). My luck continuing, I would have to call children back to work with me individually, and the first name I would have to call, would, of course, be, CALEB.

I had to say it out loud. I had to call for this child. I had to beckon this child to come to me. I had to summon this little boy, who I had never seen, to come and sit with me to learn his letters. There was no avoiding it. I thought, seriously, about running out to my car and choking back a few more of the little pills tucked away in the console. But I didn't. I forced myself to say it. To say his name. And then I waited. And then I had to say it louder, maybe the first time I had only whispered. It's possible. And so I said it again. Louder. I fought the tears back, I swallowed the hard ball in my throat. I put on a happy face. Well, a xanax face anyway.

And a chubby little dark haired boy ambled his way back to the station where I waited. I so wanted to like him. I so wanted that soap opera moment. I wanted him to be perfect. I wanted to love him. I wanted to heap a lifetime of something onto this child. I wanted it to be magical. It wasn't. He annoyed me. He was irritating. He was not my Caleb. But he shared his name and I hated it. About an hour later, I left the classroom, got into my car, threw back a diet coke and several of the little white pills that had waited so patiently for me. I drove home and went to bed.

Two years have passed since then. And every one of them has brought the 'other' Caleb into my daughters class. Every. Single. One. His grandmother, who, small world, is friends with a good friend of mine, came to the surprise baby shower my friends threw me when I was pg with Cason. She made me an adorable diaper bag. I had never met her before that day. But she heard 'my story' and wanted to come and bring something for the baby. For me. I love her. I can't stand her grandson.
And now for the real point of the post. My very good friend watches the other Caleb, everyday after school. I came to know this friend 'after'. She has a son my daughters age and a daughter my older sons age. We became good friends during that darkest of years of my life. Such good friends that I never once talked about Caleb to her. I never told her and it made that friendship easy for me. She found out later. When I was first pg with Cason and people started to guess and then the whispering of "She isn't saying anything because of....' and then she heard. But we've never really ever talked about it. And that's on me, not her.
But I digress. She watches him. She can't stand him either. She calls me just to vent about him. And when she does, it's, 'Caleb this and Caleb that and Ohhhhh Caleb....' and it just kills me. Hearing his name over and over, hearing it linked to the words, 'is so awful' or 'is so rude' or 'is so slow' or 'is so gross when he eats'....the list goes on. And I hate it. To be fair, she's right. I have volunteered at the school for years with kids and even I have to say he tops my list as one of those kids you just have to work really hard at even tolerating, but still.

The name.

The name.

The name.

I hate hearing her say the name.

I hate that this little boy has taken hold of the name I so carefully chose for my son, for my baby. I hate that at times it is his face that comes to mind when I hear the name said out loud. I hate that others can utter his name and it goes unnoticed, that another tiny life also shared that name. Shares that name.
I want no one to ever say his name, ever. I want it to be mine and his, alone. I want for it to never be spoken aloud.

And yet, everyday I say it, I whisper it, I think it. And I miss him.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Never Turn Your Back

I told Cason to wait just a minute and I would get him his breakfast.

He, being the SUPER helper that he is and in his endless pursuit to earn his independence, did it himself.
Take that Snap, Crackle and Pop. Cheerios are clearly the better choice.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yea, I suck at blogging

I didn't intentionally abandoned this place. I got caught up in some chaos here with my kids school, think David v Goliath, and have just been consumed by the entirety of it. I'm slowly making my way back. I have been following everyone, not always leaving word but still, quietly stalking.
And waiting, holding my breath, happily, with so many of you who have found yourselves daring to look forward, despite all efforts to keep the blinders firmly in place. Time marches on, no matter how much we might will it to stand still. So yes, now we wait. And even dare to hope.
For now, I leave you with these images. Because sometimes, it's better to, as Nik.e says, "just do it", rather than be bothered with the formalities of the little things, like ummm, actually lying down, when you want to make it happen.