Why I Still Celebrate The Birthday Of The Son I Lost

You're not here on earth, but you're still teaching me about life

 
My Dear Baby Caleb,
 
Today is your birthday, and it's been five years since you were born and then left us. It's been so long and I still don't understand why you had to go. I make cupcakes for your birthday, and we go out and do something fun for the day, together as a family like we do for your brothers' birthdays. But why do we celebrate your birthday here if you're in heaven? Why are you not here? Why did this happen? Why, after five years, do I still have the same unanswered questions?
 
I still think about you (almost) every single day. I know people use that sentence loosely, meaning they think about their lost loved one often. But I can literally count on one hand how many days I haven't thought about you. When I say I think about you every day, I actually mean it. Time does help heal wounds, even if they never fully heal. Truth be told, I don't ever want it to fully heal. I want to remember everything because it's all I have left of you. 
 
After almost two years of visiting your grave every day, I started weaning myself off; visits every other day, a couple times a week, weekly...and now roughly every ten days to two weeks. I still clean your plaques and tidy your area at every opportunity I have. It's really all I have left to do for you, it's my only motherly way of 'taking care' of you. Last week I laid new mulch under your Dedication Tree. I know it seems like a ridiculous thing to bother doing at this point in the year, but we weren't able to refresh under your tree Victoria Day weekend like we traditionally do. I still wanted it to look perfect in time for your birthday.
 
I look at your brothers playing together and imagine what it would be like to have you here with them. I watch other kids growing up who are the same age as you, except they're here on earth. I watch them go through different stages like the first day of Senior Kindergarten, learning to read and tie shoe laces. I remember that you should be here going through the same thing. I often imagine what our life would be like if you were here. 
 
I think back to the time I was pregnant with you, the nine months I carried you. Each day was beyond difficult, yet I still saw it as a blessing. It was our only time together. It was hard going to work in a customer facing environment, trying to hide my pregnant belly to avoid innocent questions from strangers. The stab to the heart when a coworker told me she wanted to terminate her pregnancy. There were lots of pregnant women around me. Of course, I wondered why this happened to us. Being told this was an anomaly, a 1 in 500,000 chance of this happening to anyone, translated to yet another question left unanswered. It was nothing we did or didn't do. Maybe it's better that way or the guilt would haunt me for life. 
 
It took me three years of suppressing my thoughts and feelings before finally sharing the story of our short journey with you, and I'm glad I did. I feel that the way I act, some things I do as a parent, and the choices I make are often a result of losing you. Some may be able to see the reasoning behind my choices, once they understand the tremendous loss we've endured. 
 
I'm a different person. Many bereaved mothers can appreciate and understand that statement. I have different priorities now, that's the one thing I know for sure. In the early months of grieving, I buried myself in making all sorts of crafts, like making wreaths for your grave, and writing poems for you. Some were sad and some were so raw. I care a lot less about what others think of me. I do what I want and need to do like I should have been doing all my life. I've noticed in myself that I've evolved over the past five years. The rest is hard to explain, but I just know that I have become someone else, I am different. I have a title I never thought I'd have in my whole life, but here I am, a 'Bereaved Mother'. 
 
I've had some friends share their stories of loss, heartache, and struggle with me. They have opened their hearts and reopened their wounds. Hopefully, it helps them heal, gives them peace, and lets them know they're not alone. I've been able to help others who have or are still suffering. One of my doctors contacted me to ask if I would talk to another mother in a similar situation. I let her, and others who have suffered a loss, know what they're feeling is normal. They feel sad for themselves, resentful to others who have what they've lost, their minds are scattered and unable to focus. They hate their life, they hate what's happened to them. They're terrified of trying to get pregnant again in case something were to go wrong again. They have anxiety about anything and everything. They're terrified they will lose others who are close to them. Their fear is constant.
 
Losing you was the most challenging and painful phase in my life, but I've been trying to turn it into something positive by helping others whenever possible. That's why we celebrate your birthday. As a reminder of you and all the wonderful things you've given us. I don't want to dwell on the past, I want to remember it all and continue forward with an optimistic outlook on the future. You're not here on earth, and you're only five years old in heaven, but you're still teaching me about life.
 
Happy 5th Birthday to my angel baby Caleb in heaven. I love and miss you especially today and always.

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