September 29, 2011

Some New Insights

It's hard for me to refer to my children as a number. Cale was our first, Finley our second, but it's still a little hard to answer the question "how many kids do you have?" That implies how many kids do you have living. I've been in a course this week where we've had several people come speak to us about various programs and resources available in the Army for Soldiers and their families. One of the speakers today said, "please raise your hand if you have kids." So I did. And then she asked us to hold up the number of kids we had (so she knew how many of these silly magnetic picture frames to hand out). So I just held one finger up, but it felt wrong. I think things like that will always just sting a little. Similarly, if people ask me how many kids we want, I don't just say a number. Because that's a complicated question when you factor in a dead baby. I usually say we want at least one more and leave it at that. Because if I said I wanted two kids, I'd feel the need to say two living children, but shouldn't that go without saying? And if we are fortunate enough to have another, I don't want that baby viewed as baby #2. Because hopefully they'll be living baby #2, but no matter what they would always be baby #3. Anywhoo. . .just some thoughts that were bouncing around my head today.

But the reason I wanted to write a new post was to share some comments I received from a very dear person. After Cale died there were some people who really just showed their true colors (both good and bad) and Megan was one of those people, who despite never experiencing stillbirth, has just reached out and been the most compassionate and wonderful friend I never even asked for, thus making her that much more special to me. Recently I asked her if it'd be alright if I shared Cale's pictures with her. It's nice to share my little boy with people and I knew it'd make me feel good to do so. I told her that he was a little bruised and really wasn't expecting much in return - it was more so for me to get to share him. But her response was so beautiful and really resonated with me. I don't expect everyone to have the same viewpoints and as she says, our relationship with God is personal, but what she shared with me really gave me a new insight on Cale's life and the impact it has on my life so I wanted to share.

Caroline -
Cale is absolutely beautiful. The sketch just does not do him justice. Yes, he may have a little bruising, but these pictures are not unlike my first memories of Marie in the first few hours...I remember the doctors saying how badly bruised her face was, but honestly I could not see what the doctors were talking about. All I could see was perfection. And I see the same thing in these pictures of your beautiful son--absolute perfection. My reaction in my heart of hearts as I looked at him last night was that I wanted to just pick him up and hold him close. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been when you had to stop holding him, and I am so very, very sorry that you didn't ever get the chance to see him open his eyes or grasp your finger or hear him make a sound. I've wanted to give you a real hug so many times and I wish I could do that now.
When looking at these pictures something very faith-based came to mind that I felt compelled to share, so I hope you don't mind me doing so. Many people know that my faith is important to me, but I feel that someone's beliefs are something that are between them and God, so I usually don't talk about things in a way that could come across as pushing my beliefs on someone else. But I feel like I should share something I believe very strongly in since it relates so much to Cale. Forgive me if I have trouble verbalizing it.
I fully believe in a concept that Catholics call the Communion of Saints. Most people think this means that we're just putting some crusty and pious old legend who lived a perfect life up on a pedestal (though many saints led pretty colorful lives!), but what it really means is that there is a very real connection between those of us on earth and those in heaven.That everyone in heaven, including Cale, really and and truly still exists as a living, eternal soul, and not only that, those eternal souls are able to pray for us humans still living our imperfect lives on earth.
Just as we can talk to God in prayer, those in heaven can talk/pray (even more directly) to God...they're no longer blinded by this world or bound by human limitations; instead they are now surrounded by absolute glory and perfection, so their prayers are much more effective than ours. This is why people talk about "praying to" saints or Mary (though this isn't really true since worshipping/praying to anyone but God is idolatry, which is a sin). But it means that we can ALWAYS ask those in heaven with a 'direct line' to God to pray for us, just like I can ask you to pray for me. (It's called intercession). And who better is there to pray for us than Jesus's own mom who watched her own son die, or a saint who figured out how to live a holy life in this messed up world, or our loved ones who have died, especially your very own son, Cale, who owes his entire life to God and you and Miles, because he was created out of your love.  What a powerful thing to know that Cale is capable of this.
And that's the line I love most in the poem I sent--the one talking about how a child in heaven stands before God with the image of his parents' face imprinted on his own as their personal intercessor. So I fully believe with every confidence in me that Cale is with God right now, alive, hearing you talk about him, loving you and praying for you, knowing that he was created out of your love, and on his very face reflecting a beautiful combination of Caroline and Miles to God every single second for the rest of eternity. You are his wonderful advocate on earth. But Cale is your personal advocate before God in heaven. I really cannot imagine a more meaningful relationship than that between a mother and son.
I think this directly tied to another concept that is extremely important---that each soul God creates has absolute worth, and no matter what we on earth might think, significance is not determined by age, lifespan, or earthly accomplishments. We are significant because God chose to create us, and from the very  moment we came to be in human form, our souls--which will literally exist forever--also came to be, carrying more worth than we can ever comprehend. We matter so incredibly much to God, regardless if our life in our earthly bodies lasts only a day, nine months like Cale, several years like you and me, or to a ripe old elderly age. God created us all with the same ever-lasting significance. So even if no one ever spoke Cale's name again on this earth, even if you were not doing all the amazing things you are as his mother to preserve his earthly memory, it would not change the fact that his life--both here on earth and in eternity--has absolute significance, absolute worth. There has never been another eternal soul created to be Cale Harrison Hidalgo, and there never will be another.  He still lives. He still matters. He will always matter. Because God created him to matter. And nothing anyone does or says here on this earth can ever minimize his true significance. The same goes for the children who Peter and I never met, for Daren, for all our other loved ones who aren't here anymore. They still exist, they still matter, they still hear us when we call their names, and they are amazingly powerful advocates for us here on earth once they are with God in heaven.
At any rate, I'm sorry that this is so long-winded (as usual) and full of theological ramblings. And I hope I wasn't too forward with my thoughts. But I think you should know as his mother why Cale is so important to me, and that his importance to us is nothing compared to his true worth in God's eyes. So thank you again--so much--for sharing him with me, and allowing me to understand more about the amazing, beautiful soul he is. 
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  1. Ugh...who knew such a simple question would be one that would haunt us for the rest of our lives. Yes, we know what people mean especially when they are trying to get a count for silly things like magnets, but it kills my soul not to include Addi in my "number". Sorry you had to deal with that and I am more sorry it won't be the last time...not even close!

    Love that your friend could love Cale's photos and him and you so much. love love love!

  2. Man, that friend of yours is wonderful. There really are those (few) special people in our lives there to comfort and protect us and our babies.

    I can't even imagine how many tears you shed in reading that. I also don't know what to say about the whole number thing. We all know what "they" mean by the question... but we're so conflicted because our babies deserve a space in the world at the very least. But I get what you're saying.

  3. That's really beautiful. Lovely friend, lovely thoughts, lovely baby Cale.

  4. Wow. Megan has a gift for putting things into words in a way that can communicate truth straight to the heart. I'm grateful you have her in your life and I'm grateful I have you in mine. I have learned so much from watching your example.

  5. That's a really cool analogy! What a great way to look at it all!
    Keeping you in my prayers always!

  6. What an amazing note from such a wonderful friend!!!!! Thank you for sharing it. :)

    Depending on the circumstances in which that lovely question is asked, I give different answers. It kills me when our first three aren't included, though.

    Lots of love to you!

  7. I have came back to this post and read it several times. Such powerful, meaningful words...

    This really stuck with me: "...each soul God creates has absolute worth, and no matter what we on earth might think, significance is not determined by age, lifespan, or earthly accomplishments. We are significant because God chose to create us, and from the very moment we came to be in human form, our souls--which will literally exist forever--also came to be, carrying more worth than we can ever comprehend."

    It makes me so sad to think you encounter situations like the one above each day. You are such a strong woman. Love you

  8. First I have to say that I am so sad that Blogger keeps hiding your posts from my feed :( How rude! I'm going to add your blog to my Bloglovin page and hopefully that will help. What amazing words your friend shared with you- what an amazing friend! It's so nice to think that your little guy is your personal advocate before God. That's so powerful......

    It's hard when people ask about the number of children you have. I always feel like I should include Aiden but like you I know what people are really asking. And I know they don't want to hear about my son in Heaven. Cale will always be your first baby no matter how many children you have. I wish more people could understand that.

    Lots of love to you mama