June 28, 2015

To Cale on His Fifth Birthday

Dear Cale,

I think I've olny written you a couple times. Since your death anyway. I used to write you all the time when I was pregnant with you. I have an entire journal I kept from our time together. I thought it would be neat for you to read one day. I never thought I wouldn't get to give it to you. I never thought I would lose you. And then in an instant, you were gone and the trajectory of my life forever changed. In many ways changed for the better. But in many ways not. 

The 'not better' is obvious - you aren't in our lives. Not in the way we had planned, dreamed, and hoped for anyway. I will never stop wanting you in our lives. Fives years without you is entirely too long and I miss you just as much, some days it even feels like I miss you more. Because you would be five now. Five. No longer my baby, but a boy well on his way to just being a kid. A little person with talents and opinions and thoughts we never got to know. And that's what is so hard about five. About all the birthdays and the missed days. I wish I got to know you. I thought I would always want my baby back. For the longest time that's all I remember thinking, "I just want my baby back." But it's YOU I want back. The boy. The person. My son. I daydream about who you would have been, but sometimes I worry I compare you too much to Finn. Or I project too much of him on to the figment of you. And that's not fair, to either of you, but I suppose it is what it is.

I wonder what your relationship would have been like with Finn. I hate that he doesn't have you in his life. I hate it for Mary too, but it stings more for Finn. He's been asking for a baby brother a lot lately. He will ask, "Is Cale my brother?" and when I remind him that yes, you are his brother, he will go on to tell me that he would like two brothers. It's sweet in a way - because it's as if he is able to acknowledge that he does already have one, he just would like another. He wants to go on a "time airplane" (time machine) to see you. He also told me he would drive anywhere to see you and that he would share his toys. I think you two would have been close. I wish you were sharing a room and staying up past your bed time, and fighting over trains and just growing up together. I wish we got to see you in that role of the oldest of three kids. I wish I could sign cards, "from Cale, Finn, and Mary." Even your names sound sweet together. 

There are, of course, the reasons this trajectory of life is better. Finn and Mary. They don't replace you, they don't make up for your loss, in many ways they highlight it so much more. Like when I look at pictures and find the empty space where you would fit. It's always there, that space. And when I think of how amazing it is to see these little people grow before my eyes, but that it is something we were robbed of with you - no, their presence in no way makes up for you. But they exist because of you. And not because you died, I don't ever think that. Rather I know it's because you lived and were here that they are too. So thank you, Cale - for giving me the two of the best gifts I'll ever be given. 

I wish that today was different. I wish that we know what kind of a cake you wanted or how excited you would be to be turning five. We are sending you balloons and spending the day as a family. We are talking to your siblings about you and making you a cake and lighting a candle and all these things feel horribly inadequate and aren't the things I want to do for you, but rather with you. But I hope that today, all days, you can feel our love. That you know we still miss you and that we will never stop loving you.

You are one of the best things I ever did. Happy Birthday, Cale.

I miss you.

I love you.


. . . . . . . . . . .

Finn helped me make the cake. When we ate it he paused and said,
"we didn't say 'happy birthday' to Cale!" as we didn't actually sing "happy birthday."
He's such a sweet little brother with a sincere and precious heart.


  1. Missing Cale with you, and wishing this birthday celebration were different.

  2. You got me on this one Caroline. Tears tears and more tears. Some happy and a lot sad. Missing/sad tears. For you and for me. There are a handful of baby loss moms that can write directly to my soul...and your words to Cale have done just that. Pierced my heart with so much truth, I love it and hate it all at one. But you got me. The love you have expressed got me right here crying.

    Five is big. I was a mess bawling my eyes out as my heart broke in a billion new pieces (writing about how I felt) over three. I'll assume four and five with do the same, just in different ways.

    The two little ones running around at your knees fill my heart. I can image what they do to yours. I love what you said about how they are gifts from Cale. I have similar feelings on that note too. And oh god, to see all three of their names lined up In a card?? Just stops my breath. I love how it looks too.

    Happy 5th birthday Cale xox

  3. I read this yesterday and I'm still at a loss for words. Finn's words definitely bring tears, so touching and heartbreaking. And it's so beautiful to feel your love so strongly in every single word, but painful to "feel" the loss so heavily in each word too (I know I still really have no idea). But I can say for sure that sweet Cale has impacted my life in so many big and little ways these past five years and I imagine I am just one of hundreds or more who his life has touched for the better. So as always, I'm just so grateful that you continue to share him as you do.

  4. Uuuuuuuuuuugh....I started reading this twice over the last couple of days before I couldn't even sit with the emotions that threatened and had to stop. Oh, Caroline. Reading you letter to Cale feels like reading your diary. I feel like I'm holding the most fragile, precious piece of paper, written in fairy dust. The kind of thing you treat with the utmost care. Thank you for the trust it takes to share such a beloved piece of your heart.

    The hardest part to read was Finn saying he wanted to take a time machine, to drive to go see him and he would share his toys. So reminiscent of the kind of bargaining we do - "I'll do (anything), I'll be (whatever you want me to be), I just want to be with him." I think they would have been close too. Very close. And something tells me he would have been SO PROUD of his little sister and doting on her and showing her off to anyone who would listen.

    The second was their names together. You're so right. They sound sooo incredible together. Now that you say that, 'Finn and Mary' alone absolutely sound like there's a piece missing. The 'Cale' first just makes an altogether different kind of music.

    This letter is beautiful and perfect.

    Love you. Love your family. And love that birthday boy, who's personality and quirks and own unique deliciousness the whole world misses so much.

  5. I read this immediately and it's been in my reader since. I love reading these letters. I think the very same things of Andrew, but it's so amazing to also read your love for Cale because it makes me feel closer and more connected to you as a friend.

    I completely understand the wish for Finn to have a big brother-- even moreso than Mary to have Cale in her life. I think, ALL THE TIME, what it would be like and who Benjamin would be if Andrew were alive. He would likely be completely different in his interests and demeanor.

    I know it's already July, but I'm thinking of Cale (and Camille) still as their birthdays just passed. Five is big and I celebrate all of who he would be, even now. xo