June 28, 2011

Cale's First Birthday in Heaven

This morning I woke up to the most beautiful gift from Miles. He had gotten in touch with our amazing photographer to get an early copy of a picture she took at the hospital the day after Finley was born. He had a frame made, and framed the picture for me to open.

This is the inscription on the frame: 

It was a perfect, albeit incredibly emotional, way to start the day. To remind myself of how far we've come, and that Cale will always be a part of our lives. I have lots of other pictures I plan to share from our little celebration of Cale's First Birthday in Heaven, but am too tired (physically and emotionally) to upload and post those right now, so I'll share them later.

It's been a year since we met and said goodbye (for now) to Cale. That doesn't sit well with me because it's been too long since I held him and that time will only increase. But at the same time I'm amazed that we made it a year, and amazed that in that time we've been blessed with the healthy arrival of Cale's brother. There are times I look at Finley and I can easily see the resemblance he shares with Cale. I love that he clearly looks like his brother, but isn't identical to him (that would have been too hard I think). But as wonderful as it is having Finley here in our arms, it's also hard. It's a reminder of what we've missed out on. I miss Cale so much. I always will. Today doesn't really feel like his first birthday. It certainly feels like his day, but Cale will always be our little baby (as opposed to our one year old son). I sometimes struggle imagining him as anything but a perfect newborn. And that's hard at times. I hate that I don't know what he would have looked like today and that he is not here with us as we celebrated him.

A family in my husbands unit recently lost a baby. I've been in touch with the mom, trying to comfort her and give her hope, but allowing her to grieve and not be overly optimistic. Sometimes it's too hard and too overwhelming to hear "it's going to be ok" when your grief is so fresh and raw. And the sad truth, that I've shared with her, is that it is never going to be ok. It doesn't get better. But it does get easier. It's never ok that your baby died and never ok that you have to figure out how to live without them. But you do and life goes on and there are happy times and you are able to enjoy them and eventually you realize that it's gotten easier. She recently asked me when I felt like my old self again. I need to write her back. I probably won't today, but what I need to tell her is that I never felt like my old self. But that's ok. Cale changed me. I'll never be the person I was before him, but I'm not sure if I'd want to be anyway. In the midst of grieving for Cale, I feel I'm learning how to live. How to really, genuinely live. I love more. I love Miles, and Finley, my family and friends so much more. And I appreciate things and people more and search for the reasons I have to be grateful, despite the reasons I have not to be. Some of the most wonderful people I've met or gotten to know (even just online) are people I wouldn't have met had it not been for Cale. Some of my friendships have been strengthened as they have been, and continue to be, tested and tried. And some friendships have faded. But it's shown me that they weren't worth keeping in the first place. I feel that I don't have time, or chose not to have time, for trivial things or trivial people. I'm more assertive, more honest, and more real. I am these things because of Cale. I am a mother because of him. So no, I'm certainly not the person I was before him but am proud of that.

Most of you who read this blog fall into the category of people I truly appreciate and have been so grateful for during this past year. Thank you for to continued support. The prayers, words of encouragement, and above all else the love you have shown our family, the love you have for Cale and for reminding me how he'll never be forgotten.


  1. What a precious photo. I am glad you have Finley to hold today. Thinking of you and sweet Cale.

  2. Caroline, what a beautiful post. I have realized in just three short months that although I function better than I did right after Georgiana died, it certainly isn't better. I can tell how much Georgiana has changed me. I have more concern for how I treat people, for being grateful for the small things. What a lovely little family you have, even if you won't see Cale for awhile. Sending hugs and happy vibes your way.

  3. Thinking about you, Miles, Finley and Cale today.

  4. Thank you for always being your true and honest self. As my "dooms-day" approaches (the 20 week appt when we found out our daughter was not going to make it)I am so grateful to know that I have such an amazing support system. Again, thank you for being open and honest and thinking of you and your family.

  5. The photo from Miles is breathtaking. I am so glad that we were able to share Cale's day with you and your family, it was a beautiful celebration of him and his life. Sending you lots of love.

  6. Dear Caroline,

    This was a very touching post.

    I wish you many more blessings.


    Coastal Blue Ocean

  7. Caroline,
    A friend of mine sent me the link to this post as I wrote something very similar the other day particularly about online friends. I couldn't agree with you more. Thinking of you as you remember your precious first boy and love on your second child.


  8. Beautiful.

    Thinking of you, Miles, Cale, and Finley. Sending lots of love.

  9. That photo is so beautiful. Wishing you all the best.

  10. What a beautiful picture! Thank you for allowing us to share in his day! :)

  11. I thought I commented on this when I first read it.. Must have been at work, and I wanted to come back to it? :)

    Just wanted to say I truly appreciate how open and honest you are about how you are, as of Cale's first birthday. Obviously, Finley isn't Cale's replacement, and you grieve and celebrate very seperately, yet all together intertwined. I very much think I will similar once I have my rainbow.

    I appreciate that you tell it as it is, and now all rainbows and sparkles.

    Happy birthday Cale.

    Ps. beautiful photo, and inscription, too.

  12. *not all rainbows and sparkles.