When I was in Denver last year visiting my sister we went to a nearby park that was filled with beautiful gardens. We walked through all of them enjoying how pretty they were, stopped in many to take pictures or sit and talk, and just lazily enjoyed the beautiful day. We came across one rose garden and in it was a large plaque. Since Cale's passing (and even more reinforced after Daren) I have stopped to read plaques, headstones, and memorial markers and signs much more than I used to. The tender words engraved on such things mean a lot to someone or did at some point and I like to, at the very least, just pay my respects and maybe learn a little about a person or a place in the process. This particular plaque in the rose garden was dedicated in memory of a young girl named Judy who I think was 17, maybe even younger, when she died and we learned that she loved roses and tending to them in her own garden. Kate read the plaque and so very sweetly said, "we love your garden Judy." And then we moved on to another pretty area of the park.
I have come to realize that this is exactly what I want for my son. That maybe someday years from now a total stranger can pass by something and stop for a moment to enjoy its beauty before moving on, and it will have been because of Cale. I think this has happened already. I sometimes get sweet pictures from friends who see something and think of Cale, or who write his name in the sand, or do a good deed in honor of him. And for a little boy who never got to walk this earth, I think there's nothing more I could ask for.
The garden we created in Georgia may only be enjoyed by a handful of people over the years, but it's a small pocket of beauty that has been left there in loving memory much like the rose garden in Denver. What I loved most about that garden was that it is one of the places I had my maternity pictures taken.
Miles told our neighbor Brian to not cut one of the stumps and told him why I wanted to bring it with me. So Brian kept another part of the tree and worked on this little stool for us. They gave it to us, along with a sweet hand painted mold by their kids, as gifts for Cale's birthday and told us they figured Finley could use the stool one day and it would be a nice way to always have part of the tree with us, without having to lug a big ole tree stump around. They carved the boys' names in the legs of the stool (you can see Cale's name in the picture) and signed the bottom. It's just perfect.
I'll miss that garden back in Georgia, but just yesterday we started on the little area we plan to make his garden here in Texas. His second special place for me to go and think of him, miss him, and be reminded of how much beauty exists in this world because of him. Something I'm reminded of every time I look at his brother.
My son should be turning two today. It's hard to believe and I know would be equally so if he had lived. Two years that should have been so very different and have been void of a little boy who I desperately miss every single day. This last year of grieving for and missing Cale has really been no better or worse than the year before. Because as I was told early on, and believe firmly, it never gets better - it just gets easier. And in many ways it has. Even the build up to today and these last few weeks and days hasn't been as tough as last year. Granted we've been busy moving across country and getting settled at a new house, but I still haven't been as emotional as I was last year. As I mentioned recently, I've just come to a more comfortable (and more controllable) point in my grief. Cale has become a part of my every day and my reality in a way that I never wanted, but I am at least thankful he's there, even just in spirit. I'm thankful for little pockets of beauty that I stop and appreciate because of him.
Happy 2nd Birthday, my beautiful son.
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be."