He was born nine days before his due date.
Lots of babies are born nine days early. Lots are born even earlier. Most are born alive.
But in nine days my baby will still be dead. And he won't be a three year old. He will still be my baby. My perfect, beautiful baby who was born nine days early, but without the most important thing - a heartbeat.
Right where I am in my grief is similar to where I was last year. I think Cale has blended in to all our lives as best as possible. Never as it should have been, but he is still here and still an important part of our lives.
Finn can now say "baby Cale." He once grabbed my necklace and I said "Mama's necklace says Cale" and ever since then anytime he grabs any necklace I'm wearing he will either say "baby" or "baby Cale." He looks at his pictures and exclaims "baby!" "baby!" over and over until I acknowledge him. His soft voice saying his brother's name is the sweetest thing in the world, but it's heartbreaking too.
A friend of mine once said the most poignant thing in regards to situations like ours, if I substitute my children's names for hers, the quote goes like this "Watching Finley grow up is the greatest joy of my life. Not watching Cale grow up is the greatest heartbreak of my life. Figuring out how to be a mother to both has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life."
As Finn grows, I find that I am still not only learning how to be a better mom to him, but how to continue to be a better mother to Cale, and incorporate him in Finn's life in a positive and meaningful way.
After losing Cale it may have taken time, but there were glimmers of hope that life would still be good. And now, almost three years after his death, I can say confidently that life is good. I still grieve him and always will, but life can still be good, and grief can be beautiful.
I'm linking up with Still Life With Circle's Right Where I Am Series - blog submissions about where we all are in our journey with grief since the death of our child(ren).