Cale was heavy on my heart this weekend. Or maybe it's that my grief was. The two - Cale and grief - are so intertwined that it's hard to separate. On Saturday we got a last minute call from a realtor asking if she could show the house. Not wanting to turn down a showing we frantically ran around cleaning up and putting things away. This includes Cale's urn. An urn probably just isn't something you should have on display for potential buyers. And it's not that it makes me sad - it's just strange. Strange that my reality includes putting away the baby toys, clothes, paperwork, . . .and an urn.
Fast forward a few hours and we were getting ready to go to some friends' house for dinner. I put on a shirt that I wore at Cale's baby shower. I have several items of clothing that I associate with him. Obviously some maternity clothes, but also some non maternity things that I just remember wearing during my time with him. When we got to our friends they had also invited another couple who we had never met before. This couple was excitedly expecting their first child soon and recently found out they are having a boy. Over the course of the night they asked me questions about Finley and when he hit certain milestones, how I liked certain toys or baby items, etc. But nothing ever came up that was specific to pregnancy or delivery or anything that would cause me to bring up, either by want or necessity, that we had a baby before Finley . . .until one point during dinner when this expectant mom said that she did not purchase any of the pregnancy books because she heard they can cause you to worry too much and that "so far, she had no reason to be concerned." But I didn't say anything. I just looked down at my plate and thought of all the things I could say. I could say that I too had no reason to be concerned during my first pregnancy. That it was textbook up until the very end. I could say that just because you have no reason to be concerned doesn't mean things can't go wrong. Or that those books sometimes, but rarely, highlight things that you should be aware of during your pregnancy. But again, I didn't say any of that. I'm not really sure why, but I guess it's because I want Cale's life to positively impact people instead of just scare them. And when I do bring up Cale it conversation, I'd rather it be in a more uplifting context - if that's even possible.
When we got home that night, I looked at Cale's pictures. I still sometimes feel dumbfounded by it all. That a perfectly formed and developed and beautiful baby could not make it because of a freak cord accident. And for a little bit, I was consumed by the sadness of it all. I can't take comfort in the memories or time spent with him because we were robbed of all of it. In one of my books about stillbirth, one woman writes about some of these exact same sentiments and she writes about wanting to show people what it's like to live with this loss:
"I wish there were a way to explain what living with the loss of your child is like. I wish that, every once in a while, the world would stop. I wish that, in that moment, I could show you what it is that I, that we, have lived through. I wish that I could show you all that I lost, and I wish that I could show you, that I could introduce you to, the child that I am living without. I wish. I wish . . . "
And that's what I wish for Cale. That's what I wish I could have done the other night with that expectant mom. I didn't want to just interject that I lost a child. I wanted her to know so much more than that - to know Cale and the profound loss that he was. Not just a scary story, but a person - a baby who somehow, in nine months in utero, lived a life so full of meaning an purpose that he forever changed me as a result.
I wish there was a way, and maybe there is, to convey all this to someone I meet for the first time. To strangers we probably won't run into again. But it's a lot and it's heavy and takes time, at least for me, to really tell Cale's story and do it justice in the process. I just wish it were easier. I wish I didn't have to do it at all. . .