Cale was born four years ago today. I remember wondering what it would be like to be years out from my loss.Years intimidated me. It seemed so distant and hard to comprehend. But I love him no less today than I did four years ago and the fact that he should be turning four today doesn't bother me so much. What bothers me is that he should be alive. Age really is just a number. Four years, or forty, I will always wish he were here.
Each year my friend Molly has a family picnic on the birthday of her stillborn son. I thought it was a lovely idea, and since we we move around fairly often and don't have a spot dedicated to Cale in which we could spend his birthday, it seemed to be the perfect way to start a tradition that we could partake in each year. So this year we went to the beach and brought a picnic lunch. Then for dinner we grilled out at home and enjoyed a small birthday treat. It wasn't much, but it was something.
While at the beach, we were eating when Finn said, "ders Cale right der." Miles and I looked at one another wondering if we heard what we thought we did so I asked him, "what honey?" and again he said, as he pointed out in front of us towards the ocean, "ders Cale. Right der." Yet, there wasn't anyone directly in front of us.
I asked Miles if while playing in the water with Finn, he saw Cale's name in the sand that I had written earlier. He said he saw it, but didn't say anything to Finn about it, nor did Finn comment on it. And he may have been a little confused as we were right next to a little boy's birthday party (because of course) and maybe he thought the party was for Cale since we had told him we were going to spend Cale's birthday at the beach. So it may have just been a three year old not being sure what he was saying. Or maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was something.
Death is a hard concept to explain to children. But I'm glad we talk about Cale and glad that Finn and Mary will grow up knowing he existed and that he still matters to his family. I'm glad we can spend some time at the beach as a family and celebrate our boy. It's not what it should be, but it's something.
"I love the boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me….yet, in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it."