August 31, 2011

Cale's Advocate

 I have a wonderful friend (hi Deb!) who, when I was pregnant with Cale, was due a little over 7 weeks after me with her first baby - beautiful Bryars. We were excited to have babies so close and had plans to raise them together. We joked about them dating and looked forward to being parents at the same time, of kids the same age, in the same grade, etc.

Bryars and Cale - May 2010

But then that was no longer the plan.

Yesterday was Bryars' first birthday. A few weeks before that, also the day I came home to this, I received an invite in the mail to Bryars' birthday party. Granted I was already on edge because of the mess Roscoe created, but the invite made me cry as it reminded me of something I never got to do with Cale. And then I cried some more because of the guilt I felt for letting my grief overshadow the happiness of the occasion.

But the other day as I talked to Deb on the phone and apologized for not sending Bryar's birthday gift in a timely manner (ie - my lazy ars still needs to scoot on over to the post office) Deb was the one who started crying. She told me how Bryars' milestones are bittersweet for her because Cale should be hitting them just a couple months before her, that we should be going through this together. She told me how baby Cale is often talked about in their house and always thought of and his picture is in their nursery, looked at every day.

These are the things - the thoughts, the words, the kindness, that literally mean everything to me. To be reminded that Cale is never forgotten - it's what I crave as his mother.

Maybe I am redundant. Maybe I convey that sentiment too much. But at the same time, as his mother I feel I can't stress that enough. I once talked about this with my sister. And she said something that really stuck with me. She said it'll always be my job to acknowledge him and to talk about him because I'm not just his mother - I'm his advocate.

At work I have recently been dealing with the parent of one of my Soldiers. (Just a little background - all of the Soldiers in my unit are being discharged from the Army - most of whom should be). But every once in a while we get guys who genuinely want to be in the Army, but just don't meet entrance standards for one reason or another, usually for a medical reason. The father I've been in touch with clearly just wants what is best for his son. He wants him home and wants to know what can be done to make this happen as soon as possible.  He wants to know that his son is ok, and wants to take care of him. I don't blame him and I don't get annoyed by his constant phone calls. Because he's doing what a good parent should - he's caring and he's trying everything he can to be his son's advocate from afar.

I'm trying to do the same.
And I will for the rest of my life.


  1. I hear you on being the advocate. I wish that I didn't have to be and that Ben could stand up for himself but if I am not we will/would be screwed. We have alot of people on our side but it still is hard. I am not excited on going over to the VA side at all!
    I know you will always be there for Cale, talk about him, share with Finn about him and be his momma!
    There are many lessons to be learned for those who have to advocate for another....

  2. Caroline, your posts are consistently powerful. During most every post I read, I cry. I often wonder if the tears, the sharp pain in my chest will lesson with time. To be honest, I hope it doesn't, because every emotion that I feel when I think of Cale is a reminder of how big our capacity to love is. I never held him, but I felt his kicks in your belly and saw his sweet face through an ultrasound ---and I’ll forever love him as much as I love my second nephew, and all of your children (and of course my godson Roscoe). Your sons are so lucky to have you and Miles as parents. Every day, your love as a mother attests his existence.

  3. Deb and I will always be Cale's advocate too, Caroline! Cale lived a short life but he had such a strong impact on mine and taught me so much. Love you

  4. Hello Caroline~ I found you through clicking and clicking through different BLM blogs. I am so sorry that Cale isn't here with you and happy to see have a beautiful rainbow baby. I have been reading through your blog and wow...your story sounds so similar to mine only this JUST happened to me. Our babies are almost exactly 1 year apart. My daughter Camille died and was born June 30, 2011. I am in the thick of it right now and very sad but she was my daughter and I have a 2.5 year old son. I wanted to say I think you are so lucky to have such a loving supportive friend... we certainly have to be thankful for the people who "show up" I just wanted to say hello and that I will be reading.