December 31, 2015

Christmas with Cale

A couple days ago I received a message from the sister of a guy I went to high school with just letting me know that she was thinking of me and Cale and was curious if we had any traditions for him during the holidays. She is not someone I'm close with, but just a really nice and genuine person who has reached out to me several times over the years with kind words such as her latest message. I wrote her back and told her that it means so much, to not only know that she thought of Cale, but that she actually wanted to know about how we remember him and honor him. And even better than just wondering, she took the time to ask. Those people are gold, they really are. I happily shared with her our few traditions and thought I would share them here as well. 

Each year we try to "adopt" a child that is in need off one of the Angel Trees. We try to find a boy who is close in age to the age Cale should be. This year we didn't find a five year old, but did get to adopt a six year old boy who needed clothes. We got him a jacket, several pairs of pants, a few shirts, Star Wars underwear and a Star Wars shirt, and some toys - we got this boy Legos as those seem age appropriate and I suspect Cale would be really in to Legos just as his brother is starting to more and more. It feels good to get to buy for a child in need, but to do so because of our love for Cale. 

Every year when we decorate I pause and wonder if I like the stocking set up. The damn stockings plague me every year and I think I've found something that feels as close to good as it can, but definitely not right. Right now I have four stockings on the mantle with our initials. Then I have a smaller stocking for Cale hanging from a bookshelf with his Christmas name in the sand.  When we put the tree up, I have a little tradition where the first thing that is hung on the tree is one of our Cale ornaments. On Christmas morning I light a candle either next to his sketch (which is always on our mantle) or next to his stocking and leave it lit all day. 

Love this growing collection of ornaments. Three of them are from
my annual Baby Loss Mom ornament exchange - something I look
forward to each Christmas. 

The other thing that I struggle with each year is what to write on our Christmas Card in regards to Cale. I feel like I say the same thing; "we miss him, we love him," but not saying it also doesn't feel right. Last year I didn't mention him in the short blurb, but signed the card, "with Cale forever in our hearts" which is similar to what a lot of my loss friends write and I like that it's a simple, yet powerful way to remind others that Cale is never far from heart. This year I mentioned him by acknowledging that he would have been five this year and also included his Christmas name in the sand on the back of the card as well as a picture of Finn and Mary. It felt like the right thing to do this year and I've learned that I just have to do whatever feels best and brings the most comfort.

That's about it as far as traditions go. I'd love to hear about any you have and hope that the holidays were especially gentle to those of you missing loved ones.


  1. I could just check the hashtag, but where are those gold dipped feathers from? I have a picture saved from an instagram company that makes them and was thinking they would make a perfect gift for a BLM. But you have them so they aren't my original idea after all. Hah. I'm still in love with them.

    I LOVE that you light a candle for Cale and keep it lit all day on Christmas. And that the first ornament hung is for him. I know the stocking thing is tricky. I don't think about it much because my kids are so annoying with those stockings and I have such a fear of them taking down our insanely heavy and dangerous mantel that I don't even put ours up at all.

    What a wonderful person she is for sending that email. There are still such bright lights in the world.

  2. The stocking thing is tricky for me, too. This year I didn't want to put up Eliza's stocking but David did, so we put it up with all the others. Zuzu told my mom it was Eliza's stocking, "But she die-ed, so I'm going to eat her candy." Uh....

    I love the idea of having a candle burning all day. xo

  3. These are beautiful traditions, and I'm so glad that your sweet friend asked so I could learn about them too. I love that you keep the candle lit all day. I think those who care and continue to remember Cale will always appreciate & understand (as much as possible, anyway) whatever meaningful gesture that feels right on your cards and signature.

  4. Beautiful traditions Caroline xox

    I love the bookshelf for Cale with his stocking and name in the sand and the candle. We have a similar shelf that has been designated as "Alexander's bookshelf", and one year if we ever do stockings, maybe I'll hang his there.

    I meant to light a candle on his shelf in Christmas morning, but it was well into present time that I realized I didn't and felt like an ass. But that stuff happens too...and I try not to beat myself up over it.

    I've done cards only since Theo's first Christmas, so three years now of trying incorporate Alexander. It's never easy, and I'm alwaying thinking it's too much or too sad... I'm already telling myself it's ok when that year comes and I don't do anything special or give him the back of the card or whatever. I like the "with Cale in our hearts" too.

    And I think those are all such lovely ornaments for Cale xoxo