I usually don't initiate it, though sometimes I do, but when I talk to pregnant women, I can ask them questions about the future they are preparing for. I never ask, "is this your first?" or any question related to numbers of children, but sometimes I wonder if I should as there are times that I want to be asked those questions so that I'm afforded the opportunity to talk about Cale. Yet four years later I still don't always have the right answer and sometimes give a response that later causes anguish and guilt. Speaking of guilt, four years later and the guilt still plagues me in regards to all I failed to do after Cale was born. I'm afraid it always will.
Four years later and I'm still (thankfully) very much a part of the little kiddo stage of life. Conversations about crawling (not yet) and sleep patterns, pottery training, and tantrums happen almost daily. It's a season of life that I'm not ready to move on from for several reasons, but one of which is the connection it has to Cale. When the kids are older and no longer babies, I worry about what will happen to my forever baby. His presence will fade further and further from conversations and memories of pregnancies will start to blur.
As I mentioned before the age itself doesn't bother me as much as it once did. Perhaps that's because the age itself is getting less distinguishable. I should have a four year old, but four year olds don't cause me the same ache that one and two year olds once did. I suspect as time moves on it will be events that cause more reflection than age - I should have a kindergartner, a high school senior, etc.
Four years has me not only missing my baby, but also who he should have been. What's hard about that is not knowing who he should have been and not knowing exactly who it is I'm missing. Maybe he would have loved construction vehicles as much as Finn, or maybe trains or race cars would have been his obsession. What would his favorite food have been? What book would he want to read over and over? I have a hard time picturing what it would be like to have him as a four year old because he will forever be our baby.
Four years later and the acts of kindness people do for and because of Cale still mean as much as they did just following his death. Four years later and I still, very clearly, remember who was there for us (and who wasn't).
Four years has taught me that when I do bring Cale up and share his story with someone new, their reaction will lay the groundwork for any future relationship I may have with them. Four years makes you able to discern the keepers from the rest much more quickly and unabashedly.
Stories of loss and love and kindness and pain still resonate much more with me than they did over four years prior and I'm realizing more and more how connected we all are by the stories that are sometimes hard to share.
Four years later and I still can't believe he's not here, yet as I recently read another mom state, I think I'm accepting that he died (though I will forever hate the unfairness of it), but not able to accept that he never got to live. His death will always be wrong and horrible and I'll never be ok with it, but I am able to recognize it a little more for what it is - the worst kind of bad luck possible. A fluke and a tragedy.
Four years post loss and I still miss him every single day.
Four years later and I love him just the same.