Around this time last year, I designed an image that shared a quote by Elizabeth Edwards about how much it means when others mention our babies who’ve died. That will never change. What has changed is this: I used to think that because people didn’t mention Calvin, Rainbow, or Gaelen, it meant that they didn’t remember them. Today, four-plus years after losing Calvin—the first of three children for whom I have to wait a lifetime to meet—I finally appreciate (yes, not just accept but appreciate) that there are people who, without telling us, continue to remember our heaven babies. There are people who continue to carry the children I am missing in their hearts; some just do so more quietly than others. This knowledge brings me to tears, tears of gratitude and of happiness and of relief and of unburdening. Especially now, as I navigate what it means to parent a living child, it means so much to know that their are people for whom Charlie hasn’t become a “replacement.”
How do I know this?
I know this through those who do voice their love of my babies (thank you, thank you for that!), which encourages others to “like” and share/show love. I know this through the anonymous readers that make their presence known only by the increasing counter at the bottom of this site and by the views on my Facebook Page. I know this through those who’ve reach out and began with the words “I didn’t know what to say…” and through the grapevine of loved ones telling me of the conversations they’ve had about my babies. And, I know this through my own silence, through those moments when I experience something that reminds me of someone else’s baby or loved one and tell myself to share it… and the guilt the follows when I realize that, over the course of everyday living, I’d forgotten.
The truth is, I’ve know this for much longer. In the intense days of grief, however, it wasn’t enough. I needed to hear their names voiced. I needed to see their names emailed, posted, texted, written, drawn. I needed to know that their lives mattered, to have them acknowledged and their existence validated. I wanted the world to stop and mourn with me, so I wouldn’t feel so lonely and abandoned. I was too broken to appreciate the intimate relationships others hold with my babies. Now I realize that those relationships are sacred, that my babies don’t belong just to me. And that means something wonderful: they aren’t forgotten. Even when I don’t know of the wishes, prayers, and conversations that others share with them, they are remembered.
So, thank you.
To those who have abided with us over the past four years, to those who hold my babies in their thoughts as a silent observers or as as vocal supporters or as something in-between, I appreciate you for being there for us, for being here, in this space, in whatever capacity has worked for you. I am so grateful for your presence. Especially now, thank you for not only loving my a living child, but also loving the children that came before him.
Happy 5th, my Calvin. 49 months in heaven means 49 months closer to our family finally being complete. Calvin, that day will be so sweet. Until then, I continue to look at your baby brother with wonder—which parts of Charlie does he share with you, with Rainbow, with Gaelen? You each occupy my heart and keep it full. You aren’t forgotten.