June 28, 2013

Love You Forever

Miles deployed when I was 24 weeks pregnant with Cale and came home the day before he was born. Talk about timing being everything, egh? Anyway, before he left we went to Barnes & Noble and both picked out a book for our babe. Miles picked Where the Wild Things Are and I picked Love you Forever. It's always been a book that holds a special place in my heart because it's always been a book that holds a special place in my mom's heart - it was one she read to my siblings and me when we were little. We went on to receive two more copies of it - I can't remember if it was when I was pregnant with Cale or Finn, but to this day we still own all three copies.

Back in August I ordered this picture of Cale's name beautifully written on an Australian beach by an artist and baby loss mother herself.

The picture was first posted on Carly Marie's website where I could purchase a digital copy of it. She had a form you filled out with your baby's name and birthdate and whatever else you wanted displayed on her site the day the picture was posted. I chose the verse from  Love You Forever.

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”


So I've always loved this book, not only for its connection to myself and my mom, but to Cale as well.

Well, it gets even more special.

A couple weeks ago a friend shared this blog with me in which I learned that Robert Munsch, the author of Love You Forever, wrote the book as a tribute to his stillborn babies, two boys, born in 1979 and 1980. On his website he explained:


Love You Forever started as a song.
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”
I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn't even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn't sing.
For a long time it was just a song but one day, while telling stories at a big theatre at the University of Guelph, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a story around the song.
Out popped Love You Forever, pretty much the way it is in the book.
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So here we are, three years from the death and birth of our first son. We'll celebrate him tonight as best we can, but of course I wish we were celebrating with him. I wish I knew so much more about Cale. I wish I knew the kind of three year old he would have become. I wish I knew what his little voice would have sounded like or what his favorite toy would be right now. There's not much I know about him, but I know this much:

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”

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June 24, 2013

Rainbow Weekend

A few weeks ago I made a trip to Chicago to spend three days with a group of baby loss mothers and their rainbow babies. There were FOURTEEN of us who made the trip. Fourteen broken hearted mothers who, for the most part had never met before, yet fourteen of us who could not be happier to see one another. It was not weird or awkward and despite the fact that I had only actually met two of these women before, it felt like I knew each and every one of them and only wish I had more time with them. Since losing Cale and connecting through blogs, I have met some very wonderful and genuine friends. Friends I wish I never knew, at least not under the circumstances that brought us together. We've grieved with each other, understood each other, and supported one another during some of the darkest times in our lives. I was asked recently if having another baby was what helped the most after we lost Cale and honestly the answer is no. It was a scary, anxiety filled journey filled with PTSD-esque moments. But it did give us hope and light and the end result, fortunately, was amazing. And yes, having Finn has healed me in a way I never thought possible. But I will never be fully healed. And that will never be Finn's job. What helped me the most was having this tribe. Having people I could cry with, grieve with and walk the unknown with. These bereaved and beautiful women, and many others like them, have been my biggest source of comfort and help these past three years.


But it wasn't just meeting the mamas that made the trip wonderful. Meeting the siblings of all the babies lost was equally special. Finn was the oldest of the rainbow babies, the other 13 falling between 8 and 18 months. These kids are amazing. They each have these wonderful and unique personalities and getting to love on them in person was so special.


But it was definitely bittersweet as we remembered and talked about the 15 siblings who aren't here. The big brothers and sisters they will never grow up knowing, at least not in the way any of us had hoped. Fifteen much wanted, and missed little babies who can only be loved on from afar. Sonja, wearing a sunhat in the first picture, brought gifts for each of the babies. Her mother knitted unique rainbow hats for each child. We all cried when we listened to the touching note her mother enclosed with the hats and laughed as we attempted to get a group picture. Would have helped if someone, whose name rhymes with Binn, would have kept his hat on.

For a wonderful post on just how special this picture is please read Brooke's blog

Cale's birthday is on Friday. I wish more than anything he were here to celebrate it. But I have my tribe. I have my people, and so many others, who will help us celebrate him, love on him, and remember him. And for that I'm forever grateful.


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June 19, 2013

Right Where I Am 2013: Almost Three Years

Nine days from now my son should be turning three.

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.

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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).

June 13, 2013

And Just Like That . . .

 . . .Finn has turned two. We will celebrate his birthday this weekend with a transportation themed party. Today was more or less a normal day with the exception of Finn's Nana (my mom) coming to town to be surprised by my brother and sister who were also in town (unbeknownst to her). My mom walked in the house and my sister was holding Finn, but she had her eyes on the birthday boy, saying hi to him, before realizing who was holding him. A few minutes later, after recovering from the shock of seeing my sister, she was surprised by my brother - her reaction was pretty priceless, and I'm so glad Finn has some more family members in town for his big day.

I've been wanting to write a blog all day about how awesome it is to reach this milestone, yet I just can't seem to come up with words adequate enough to convey the sentiment. I'll try again after his party. For now, here are pictures of Finley Daren from the past two years on this ever so special day.

June 13, 2011

June 13, 2012

June 13, 2013
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June 2, 2013

Six Years

Six years of marriage looks like this:


This picture doesn't just entail two people eating ice cream on their anniversary though. 

It's the husband who doesn't really want ice cream (because heaven forbid he eat junk food), but obliges anyway because the wife does want ice cream (because she's normal). It's the wife who knows that even though the husband doesn't really want ice cream, as soon as he sees cookie dough on the menu, he will want some. It's the husband who knows the wife is going to ask someone to take their picture and the wife who knows the husband will be annoyed by it (to be fair it was 7pm at night and still a million point two degrees out). It's the husband who smiles even though he's got back sweat and is holding the wife's leftovers in one hand, thus preventing him from eating his melting cookie dough ice cream. It's the wife who hits the remote engine start twenty times on the way to the car to ensure it's started and cooling down so that progressively sweaty husband doesn't get progressively cranky(er). It's the husband who despite having his hands full still manages to open the door for his wife.

It's also delicious, delicious Amy's Ice Cream that makes both the husband and wife happy. God Bless it. And air conditioning.

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