October 5, 2015

The One Who is Always Missing

A little over a month ago my youngest nephew turned two. He is from the family we were fortunate enough to live near when we were stationed in Texas. I texted my sister-in-law Jenny and commented that for a few weeks, before her eldest turned six, between her kids and mine we had a one, two, three, four, and five year old. She wrote back and said that even after Carson turns six we should have a one, two, three, four, five, and six year old. I love that she thought, so effortlessly, about where Cale should fall in the mix. It was one of those comments that meant a lot because it reminded me that I'm not the only one who is missing him and thinking about him. Jenny has always been a really great Aunt to Cale. He's lucky to have her even though he never really go to.

A little over a week ago the kids and I flew out to Texas to visit our family. The kids did great on the trip and on the way out there we even had the row to ourselves which was really nice.

Finn was coloring on the airplane and I asked, "are you coloring that for Aunt Jenny?" as we were just talking about her and he replied, "no, I'm coloring it for Cale." 

It breaks my heart wide open in the best way possible when he says sweet things like that all on his own. I'm so sad for the relationship Finn and Cale do not have, but grateful for the one that somehow even exists at all.

When we arrived in Texas Finn and his cousins picked right up where they left off, as they always do. I just love their sweet little cousin relationship and friendship. We had a wonderful time with them and squeezed in a train ride, a splash pad visit, a high school football game (Lordy those Texans don't mess around), a trip to Target, several stops at Starbucks, trips to the playground, lunch visits at school, and just lots of play time for the kids.

One day we were getting ready to walk to their neighborhood playground and the kids were waiting patiently to walk down the driveway and cross the road. A couple of them stood against the garage so the rest followed suit and I thought it was cute so quickly grabbed my phone. But my heart skipped a beat when they stood in birth order and there was a space that so clearly should have been filled by my should-be five year old.

6, (5), 4, 3, 2

My loss friends and I often talk about the space in pictures were our child(ren) should be. It's always there, but not always this glaringly obvious. 

Shortly after I snapped this picture Carson scooted closer to Finn and Mary hopped in, but there still was a space. And while in some regards these pictures are almost painful to look at, they also are brutiful reminders of the person, the entire unique and amazing little being, who is missing and always will be. 

We had a wonderful time in Texas. It was fun and made me miss living near family and I anxiously await going back. But that space will always be there. There may be chaos and joy and far too many little creatures needing something or fighting over something or making a mess of everything, but as exhausting and wonderful as it all is, that space, that void can never be filled. 

The Middles and the Littles


  1. All of this...wow. I have to wonder if deep in their little hearts they somehow knew that space was his.

  2. Such beautiful kids in your family. I'm glad you make time to visit - even though it's more complicated than just hopping in the car for a few minutes.

    I noticed that gap in the photo even before I read your words below it.

  3. Oh, those spaces hurt my heart and I'm also glad to see the space is there, reminding us of the child who should be.

  4. Wow. That space is really something. It's heartbreaking, and yet wonderfully his. I'm grateful that Cale (and Finn and Mary) has such awesome, loving aunties.

  5. Wow. How I love and hate that space.

  6. That space. It hits me too just the way you said it. Snapping the picture or previewing it, and there it is. To the untrained non loss eye, you'd think it would have been so much "better" if they all were to just squeeze in a bit more. But to our eyes, it's a reminder that it would have all been that much better if everyone was here to share in the pic. Xox