Finding Out

Dear Caleb,
  Hello sweet boy, we just passed your 9 month birthday. Many things have happened since I wrote you last. It got hard to write to you, because I didn’t know what to say. We had our first memorial day for you, it was hard. Our first mother’s and father’s day without you. Both seemed like an empty day, like a big piece was missing. Our Caleb piece. We both spent the days thinking of you, and looking at your beautiful face in your album.
  I wanted to tell you more about when you were still growing and how we found out about who you are. We had our first ultrasound, that’s where we got to see you inside my tummy. We got to see you for the first time and it was so wonderful. You moved around quite a bit, so they had to take extra pictures!

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This was the very first picture we got to see of you, you were 14 weeks old! And so tiny. The doctors looked at all your pictures, and they told us you were little, and that you had something called a thick nuchal translucency, that meant you had a thick neck. And the doctors told us to come see them again 2 weeks later when they had special doctors come. Those 2 weeks were pretty scary and we spent a lot of time researching what all we could. We looked at things called chromosomes, deficiencies (when there is too little of something), and trisomys. There were a lot of things to look at.
  Two weeks went by, and we went back to the doctors. The special doctors looked at the pictures for a very long time, it seemed almost forever. Then he came back to talk to us, and he told us something we weren’t ready for. The doctor told us that there were a lot of things about you that were not good. It was that moment, that momma knew. He talked about something called Trisomy 18, and how scary it was, and how you had many things about you that seemed to be the same. Your size, and neck, your arms and legs, all were very similar to what Trisomy 18 is. He told us that other babies have had this too, but sometimes they don’t get to meet their moms and dads. Momma, daddy and grandma all hugged each other and we started to cry, because we didn’t know what to say. That’s the day that so many people began to pray. And we started a journey of prayer for you.
  This was a very hard time for us, it began a 6 month journey of uncertainty, fear, hopelessness. But we knew we could trust in God throughout this journey. And we did. I’ll talk to you soon little one.

Love Momma

Time

Dear Caleb,
   Hello sweet boy, how are you doing today? Mama and daddy are doing fine, we miss you. Monday was 6 months since we’ve seen you, and it seems so long since then. So long since we got to hold you and talk to you, but also it has been no time at all. The time since you, has never been the same as it was before. And I often wonder if that is what it’s like in Heaven. God said that a day with him is like a thousand years, sometimes a day here feels the same, it feels very long.

   I also wonder what you are like now, are you all grown up or a little baby? What does time feel like growing up in Heaven? I often wonder what it is really like there, what its like to stand in the presence of God, and to be held by him. I saw a picture that made me think of you, and it made me sad but peaceful at the same time.

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  I have so many questions that no amount of time here can answer, but one day I know that you will get to tell me and show me all you’ve gotten to see. Momma loves you little Caleb.

Love, momma

Mom’s Thoughts: Grief

Grief: deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death. A deep and poignant distress. An unfortunate outcome.

That’s how Webster defines grief. They’re not wrong, but they’re also not quite right either. During this journey, I’ve come to realize that there is no one definition that encompasses something as complex as grief. Each person goes through it a little differently than the next, some get angry, some learn to live along side of it, others go into a state of depression or even reclusiveness. Some have done it all, plus more. I’ll just share my grief journey, in the beginning.

  The day we met and lost Caleb, was the most painful. It felt as if someone took out my soul and proceeded to beat it to oblivion, while I could only stand by and watch. The initial shock and pain of loss, is so difficult. It’s a place you’ve never been before, and you aren’t quite sure what to do other than cry. Other emotions will begin to surface shortly, anger, fear, hopelessness. From this point on, at least for me, for a while I never felt one emotion on its own, it was always paired with another.

  The first few nights were very hard, I cried myself to sleep most of them. These types of tears were different, bereavement tears are no longer just emotional, but physical as well. It comes from such a deep place within, that your body aches, and your head hurts. Even if it’s just a short cry, the outcome was similar to a long one, emotional and physical soreness.

  This lasted for sometime, though it wasn’t constant. I did have my smile, I could laugh, by His grace I didn’t plummet to a place I couldn’t have come out of, though I could have very easily gone there. He kept me out of a very dark place. I was reminded that I wasn’t alone in how I felt, He had felt it too. When Lazarus died, Jesus wept. God also watched his Son die. It’s comforting, especially now, to know that God has felt the same pain you have.

  As time goes on, it slowly does get better, more tolerable. The tears lessen, the pain is not so sharp. Your heart mends, though I will say it doesn’t really heal, one day in His presence, yes.

  I would say there are some very important things to have with you during the early stages of loss or bereavement. 1. Faith, God has felt your pain, he knows exactly how your heart has broken, and he knows exactly how to heal it. He will slowly make it whole again. 2. Spouse, my husband grieved right along side of me, we supported each other and continue to do so, be it just talking about Caleb or having to cry it out, it’s important to have your most important earthly relationship along side you.
3. Family/support, your family and/or support group(s) have been with you along this journey as well, most of them are going to be there for you, you need only ask when you want it. There are many more, perhaps I’ll make a longer, more in depth list, but these were most important to me at the beginning.

  Grief is not a short time thing, it will come and go, there will be waves. But I do promise you, in time, it slowly gets better.

How Special You Really Are

Dear Caleb,
  Hello sweet boy, mama wanted to tell you something today. We got to learn a little more about you yesterday, we got to learn about what made you special. After 4 long months we were told by doctors that you had Cranioectodermal Dysplasia, those are very big words but even after a day, I feel like I know them very well.
  What makes this important is how very few people who were born with this too. There have only been about 40 other little children with it as well, so you are part of a very small number. We already knew that you were special and meant very much to us, but you are even more so. Mama and daddy also carry this special gene too. It’s very rare for both of us to have it, so even long ago God knew exactly how he was going to piece you together. He knew that we would all share something in common, more than just a name, being a family, that down to the genes we would share something with you.
  It’s been a lot to learn about and a lot of reading to understand this more, but Grandma has been helping. It’s amazing to think that even in the smallest of places, tiny little genes, that God is there. He plans our lives down to the smallest detail.
  Mama and daddy love you very much our sweet boy.

Love, momma

Merry Christmas

Dear Caleb,
  Merry Christmas little one. It’s the time of year for family, love, and presents. Does it snow in heaven? If it does, I bet it isn’t as cold. Do you get to watch the snow flakes form? And watch them as they fall?  Right around this time last year, was when you were placed into our lives. We didn’t know it yet, but you were there in my womb. So tiny, so small, but even then you were so full of life. Though we couldn’t see you yet, though we couldn’t feel you yet, you were there. We had gifts that year, ones we saw and opened. But you were our suprise gift, one we got to be blessed with, even when we didn’t know it. You are the best Christmas present we have ever received.
  We aren’t able to buy you presents, but you have a stocking hanging by momma’s and daddy’s. It’s there, but it’s not empty. It has letters in it, letters from friends and family that have done wonderful things for each other. We will open them in a couple days, and read them, for you. It’s not much compared to being able to celebrate Jesus’ birthday with Him, but they’re our presents for you. I missed you a lot today, I think about you so much, and how much of a gift you are to me, even though you aren’t here, you still gift me with a love I never would have had. How I wish I could gift that love back to you. I love you very much my sweet boy, Merry Christmas.

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Love, momma

A Time to Remember

Dear Caleb,
  Today we got to go back to the hospital, they had a little candlelight service for you and other babies. It was a very nice place to be, it was momma and daddy, grandma and grandpa who got to come. We got to hear a story about another momma and her baby girl Anna. Anna has a story so much like yours, and hearing her momma talk about her made me think of you. She was a very nice lady and we got to talk about you and Anna for a while, and about how you both were with Jesus and healthy and happy. They gave us a little blue butterfly that has your name on it, it’s very pretty.

  For Christmas this year, you have had some friends do some wonderful things for you. Mama asked people to do kind things for others and to do them for you. They’ve given toys, poinsettia flowers, and donated to lots of people. It makes me happy they are thinking of you when they do these things for others.

  Make sure that if you see Anna today, that you give her a big hug. Love you sweet boy.
Momma

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Love, momma

The Day We Met You

calebDear Caleb,

Hello sweet boy, how are you today? The sun is out today, and feels very warm, even though there is snow all around. It’s a very different day then it was on your birthday almost 3 months ago. It was cloudy and misting, a chilly September day, as we drove to the hospital. I wanted to tell you about the day you were born.

Daddy and I woke up early, before the sun was awake, and drove to the hospital, we were finally going to meet you! After we got checked in, we were in our room for a while. Your grandmas, grandpas, uncles, daddy and I were excited and nervous as it got closer and closer 9:30 in the morning, that’s when the nurses came in and brought us to a big room. After they took care of momma and put daddy in his blue pajamas, they were ready to bring you out into the world to see us.

Even though I didn’t feel you come out of my tummy, I think I could tell when you were. You didn’t cry, but momma did, cause I was so happy to see you. It was only for a brief moment I saw you before you went with daddy and the nurses to your own room, but oh it was a happy moment. I couldn’t go with you right away, but I’m happy daddy did. It was a while before we heard anything. Then a doctor came in and told us that you were on a machine that was helping you breathe, and everyone was taking such good care of you.

There were a lot of doctors and nurses around you when I finally got to really see you. You were so big! You were 9 pounds! A big and perfect little boy. They told me I couldn’t hold you yet, but I could hold your hand. Your hand was so tiny but I held it and watched you for a long time before they said I had to go back to my room for a while.

We waited for a long time again, but checked in with daddy a lot and he told us about how they were helping you and taking care of you. Then our doctor came in again and told us that they were going to bring you to see us and that we had to say goodbye. So daddy and grandma got you all ready, they put you in a nice blue outfit with a little hat that had polka dots. They brushed your hair, which you really enjoyed from what grandma told me. And brought you into momma’s room.

I finally got to hold you in my arms, oh you were so little. I held you, and talked to you, I told you how much I loved you and that you were so perfect. I got to give you kisses and hugs. Then daddy got to hold you, he gave you hugs and kisses too. We took pictures with you and pastor Jake read to you from the Bible. You got to meet mommy, daddy, your grandmas and grandpas, your uncles and some friends. They all love you so much too. Then I looked down at you and that is when your eyes met mine, do you remember? Your eyes looked into mine, and I smiled at you and said, hello Caleb. That was the best moment of my entire life, cause you knew who I was, and I knew you were mine, forever.

Then it was time, I didn’t want you to go, but you were getting ready. So we told you we loved you and held you close as you went from my arms, into Jesus’ embrace. He was ready for His turn to hold you too, and I know that you’re still there in His arms. You are safe and warm, just like how the sun makes me feel today, shining through the window. One day I will get to hold you again, I will be waiting for that day. Just remember how much daddy and I love you.

Love, momma.