Monday, December 12, 2011

Ramblings From A Broken Heart

Our first Christmas without Caleb is approaching and I'm struggling more as the day draws near. I feel so conflicted with the myriad of emotions twisting and turning inside me. I am joyful that he is spending his first Christmas in Heaven. I am grieved because I selfishly want him here with me. I'm angry that cancer stole his life from us so quickly. I feel guilty because I keep wondering if I hadn't blown off some of the things I'd noticed earlier in the year, would he have had a better chance of survival or at least of living a few more months. I struggle with our decision to even treat the tumor because the steroids changed him from my sweet, loving, happy boy into a sullen, angry, hateful, "starving" boy I didn't even recognize. Could he have had a happier final 5 1/2 months if he weren't on so many drugs and going through so many procedures? How many things would I have said, "Yes" to instead of "No" if I'd known it would be his last chance? Why did we even bother with the two surgeries in January when he was gone two short months later? Of course, no matter how many questions I have, I will never know the answers.

I wonder sometimes how I am able to have so many days where I hardly think of him at all. Then there are days when I am crushed with grief and can barely breathe.

Every Christmas since Richard & I got married, we've purchased a new ornament for our tree with the year on it and most of the time a significant event commemorating that year. Several years in a row we bought the Make-A-Wish ornament, never realizing that one day we would be a family receiving from that organization. Last year's ornament was a heart with a snowflake on it that we had engraved with "Faith, Hope & Love." Since we never put up a tree last year due to travel, this is it's first year on the tree. Even though about 1/4 of the ornaments on our tree were made by Caleb, those weren't the ornaments that made me cry. The one that got me was the 2009 ornament we got that had a space to put a family picture in it. I realized at that moment that we'd procrastinated too long on getting a family picture done and any future family pictures would always be without Caleb. This year's ornament is a remembrance ornament that has his name, date of birth, date of death & "Loved to Infinity & Beyond" engraved on it. There is a place for his picture in that one, but it just isn't the same.

We never lose the ones we love - they live on in our hearts.

Caden just turned 3 and has recently begun telling us at least once a day that he misses his brother. He's started having night terrors and is acting out. I just don't know how to handle his grief on top of my own other than to say it's okay to be sad and we can also be happy when we remember fun things we did with Caleb.

And, if it wasn't bad enough that we've lost Caleb this year (with all the things that come with that), Richard's dad passed away 2 months after Caleb (unexpected trip from Dallas to south Florida), our A/C went out, the hot water heater broke & had to be replaced, 2 major water leaks, over $5k in vehicle repairs since both of our vehicles are over 10 years old - the truck looks like it may have to be replaced soon, Richard's job ends Dec 31, and my BFF's husband died the week before Thanksgiving from colon cancer (just a few months after diagnosis). So, Merry Christmas to us, right? When is it going to stop? I've had enough already.

I really just want to bury my head under the covers with some sleeping pills and not wake up until January. Notice I said "I want to" and not "I'm going to." I will keep going and will make it through each day just as I have for the past 14 months -- with the help of Jesus. Just to reassure everyone, I'm NOT going to do anything stupid. I have too much to live for and too many things left to accomplish.

I've kept up with the blog since Caleb was diagnosed. In the beginning, there were lots of comments from people all over the world and it was comforting to know people were praying for us. When he died, the outpouring of love was tremendous. But as the months have passed, the notes drop off, the comments stop, all is quiet. Life goes on around us and we are being pulled along for the ride. Babies are born, friends move on, people change. I'm slowly adjusting to life without Caleb, but it would be nice to hear that people are still thinking of us once in a while -- to know we are not alone. I know we're not alone, but sometimes it sure can feel like it. It's hard for others to understand what we're going through because they haven't been there. They can't see that not only is my heart broken over Caleb's death, but there is also a piece of my heart that will forever be gone & will never totally heal. They don't understand the fear I battle every time Caden says his head hurts or a new bruise shows up & I don't know how it got there.

Okay, I've had my "David" moment of totally exposing my pain for all to see, now it's time for the up side. I know that God is holding me close or there is no way I would be in as good a shape as I am. I continue to lean on His strength, grace, comfort & mercy to uphold me. I long to be in the physical presence of my Lord to celebrate His birth with him and Caleb gets to do that now!

I know that God is still in control, still on the throne, and still worthy of all my praise, adoration & worship. He can handle my ramblings. He can heal my heart. He has not abandoned me in my time of grief. He guides my path.  And I love Him more with each day that passes.

Caleb is always in our hearts and is loved today, tomorrow, in ALL ways to infinity and beyond.
Angel, Richard & Caden