Saturday, September 1, 2012

5 Years

5 years. Somehow, I find myself here, 5 years later, wondering what the hell I can say to honor you. I don't have new memories of you to share, new accomplishments of yours to celebrate, or new dreams I have for your future. The grief is much more subtle now, stowed away and mostly contained until a wayward butterfly swoops into the yard unexpectedly, flittering around the bushes, whispering memories of you in my heart, or when the Calla Lillies your grandma brought me 3 years ago to mark your birth, begin to sprout, and I wait, each year to see if they will blossom into a flower, which they stubbornly will not...I show them to your little brother, and this year we made a daily pilgramage to them, willing them, every morning, with soft strokes, to make a flower, to grow for baby Caleb, to grow for you. But nothing. Except that, everyday, your brother, born out of my love for you, leans down and so gently fingers those tiny plants, asking them to create something as simple and yet amazing as a bloom, for you. And when he does, he says your name. He says, 'Grow, grow, grow, little plants, make a flower for baby Caleb.' Standing beside him, hearing him wish things for you, watching him grow, holding him tight at the end of each night, asking him what he will dream of so that I can tell him I will dream the same things too, I see you, I see your flower, blooming before my eyes, within the brother you never knew but who carries you forward, effortlessly. You live Caleb. In my heart, in your little brother, in our lives. There are no words, but there is you. You will always be here. 5 years,

Thursday, September 1, 2011


No cemetary, no grave, no hilltop or ocean to call your own. Just a shelf in my bedroom and, today, a table front in the entryway, that say you were here.

There is always a lull in the days before this day. Your sister's birthday falls a mere 3 days before yours and so the weeks before are filled with plans for parties, very important discussions of what kind of cake and what special meal will make her day feel uniquely hers and fill her with all things a young lady should have on the day that marks her entry into this life she has lived.

And we celebrate her.

And then the quiet. Eventhough it is a mere 72 hours later, even today, as I saw the date, August 31, I still found myself stunned.

It's tomorrow, I say to myself. A quick glance at my cell and I see that it is the 31st, and still I am somehow stunned. It's tomorrow.

And now it's today.

Today marks the beginning of another year I will live without you. Today marks the end of the fourth year that I have lived without you.

Today marks the fourth year that you have not lived the life you should have had.

Today marks the one. thousand. four. hundred. sixty. days. that I have missed you and the life you should have had. The life we should have spent, together.

No parties, no cake, no meal of all your favorite things, I can't give you any of those things. There is no way to to show you how unique you are or how you changed our world. How you continue to change our world. There is just the quiet.

There is just Today.

Today I will light a candle, I will trace my fingers over your name on the plate that reads, "Tiny fingers hold onto me, in my heart you will always be", and I will marvel over how you and your numbered days changed me forever.

Today I will stop. Today I will hurt. Today I will ache. Today I will cry. Today I will miss you.

And in that way, today will not be like any other day.

Except that


is your day.

I love you baby boy. I love you Caleb.

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.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

On raising Grief

You were not a wanted part of my life. You came into it as some sort of woeful filler for a little boy who never made it safely into my world, this world. We were expecting a living baby, a tiny, living being, to wrap into soft blankets, to hold close and whisper love songs to. We expected to fold him into a carseat and drive him home to be welcomed by his big brother and sister. We weren't expecting that we would, indeed, have a baby, fold him into soft blankets, hold him close and whisper love songs to him, never to be heard, here, anyway. And there was no carseat for our baby.
Instead we called a funeral home. They came to take our little boy out of the hospital and we, we left with you.


In the beginning, I didn't even know you existed. You just were. While everyone around me seemed to expect your arrival, I was focused on the child I had lost. I couldn't see past the moments I had spent with him, the feeling of a sheet against my face, the warmth of his foot against my fingers, the very real and taunting kicks I still felt within my belly. And as I was wheeled out of the hospital on that hot, bright September morning, what I felt was my arms, folded, in my lap. Empty. I didn't know then, that that was you, seeping, ever so slowly, into my life.

In the beginning, I didn't even know you had a name. I didn't know I would have to name you. You, just were.

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)