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


  1. Angela,

    Lord knows you've all been through hell and back this year. But let me be the first to say the YOU were a wonderful parent to Caleb!! It's only human nature to second guess ourselves when something bad happens, but rest assured that you and Richard made Caleb's life so much richer and happier than you'll ever know!

    I remember years ago, when my Father was in the hospital dying, our minister said...."It's ok to tell God you've had enough and ask for it all to stop".

    You're stronger than you know, and eventually you'll get past this. Just keep doing what you've been doing and try not to get ahead of yourself. Take it one day at a time and when that's too much to bear, take it one hour at a time. God is with you, and so are all the people who love you!

    Lots of Love,


  2. My dearest daughter,

    Your strength in all that has happened has given me the strength that I have needed these many months.

    I had my "David" moment a couple of days ago. Right now I know the pain and frustration you are going through along with the fear of worrying about Caden when he complains of a headache or any other signs.

    Between your family and Richard's and God you have the support and love you need. Call upon us and God when you need to talk.

    Dad and I will be there soon.

    Love you,

  3. Many hugs to you Angela! This is, undoubtedly, the hardest time of year for those of who've returned precious gifts to heaven. It might help (a little) to know that all you are going through is "normal" - as normal as anything can be in this extraordinarily unnatural grief of remaining after your child has moved to heaven.

    The what if's are proof of your desire to be the best parent. A dear friend told me many years ago (before we lost Ian) that the fact that you wonder whether you are is a sign that you are a good parent - because bad parents don't care! We all struggle with what ifs and if onlys.

    Try to move through them as quickly as possible and be assured that God is still in control. Caleb's arrival did not take Him by surprise, nor does your pain now.

    I'm praying for peace and rest for you.

  4. Angel,
    Caleb taught us so much. I really do believe
    he was sent to us for that reason. And I have freinds and co-workers who do as well. To be truthful, it surprised me how supportive they were and that they still ask routinely " how are his parents holding up?" If you send me your email address, I could bingo let you know as they ask. When I wear a" Caleb is my Hero shirt They say guilt is a waisted emotion. But is it? I can't imagine the burden of yours and Richards'. But could you have been able to do nothing, not try?

  5. Oh, sweet friend, I think of you almost every day and pray for your family. There are so many things that remind me of your trial and loss; I think the Lord brings you to my mind often to pray for you. I know that God offers complete peace and healing through the terrible things that happen on this fallen earth, but I don't understand how it is possible. You have suffered the loss that every mother dreads and fears. We all push that fear down to the back of our minds and beg God to spare us. For some unknown reason He allowed your family to suffer that great loss. I don't think we'll ever completely understand that here on earth. All we can do is choose to put our faith in God's love and plan for our lives and walk through the grief and suffering. I am amazed at your candor as you've gone through this journey. I think it is emotionally healthy to honestly share the grief and hopelessness that you feel and then share what you CHOOSE to do with those emotions: bring them to the throne of God and lay them at His feet.

    Much love,

    Carissa Williams

  6. Phone issues, I will attempt this again.
    When I wear my shirt, I only get positive comments , and often a question @ how are you guys holding up. And that they still pray for you all.
    The say Guilt is a wasted emotion. But I think its to prevent us from doing it again and share our knowledge with others so that they don't suffer/do these things.
    I am so much a better person, a better Aunt Dar because of Calebs' trials. So much more patient with my kids. I rarely raise my voice. Therefore, Caleb continues to make this world a better place. Every day. And that's just my results, his ripple affect is amazing and spreads daily.

    I think the same thing. What if I had been more vocal @ my concerns when reading about his headaches? That his face appeared asymmetrical in many of his pictures. If I had visited instead of wondering where I would stay? Goodness knows in person my busy body bossy self
    Couldn't have been so quiet or PC.

    Then I think " he probably wouldn't have been able to join kindergarten or play football as a normal kid " two things that gave him such enormous rmous joy and pride. Your guilt is so much heavier a burden, but be proud it is not eating you away
    Taking the joy of living away from Cadens' life . That is truly an admirable rable quality.

  7. Dearest Angela...

    you will always hold a piece of my heart in yours. my life is better because of caleb. because of caleb, i know prayers are answered even in my darkest hour. that boy was here on this earth and with you and richard for a reason. i know it in my heart only as you do. you have such a pure love for caleb, that i've been blessed to be a part of your family and seen how happy, joyous, silly, loving and loved caleb is and always will be. there have been times along the way i've thought, "wow, he's such a cool little dude! i would have loved him just as much" but i know in my heart and soul that he never, ever would have been loved so hard and by so many. because of this, i (HAVE TO) have faith in God and his plan for us all. you have an amazing gift to keep calebs spirit alive and because of him and his amazing family, great things will be because of him. i'm so lucky that i did get to not only see caleb, but be a part of his life, where he knew my name, i got to see his room, his home, read him a couple stories, play with him and watch his happy smiling, glowing face and hear him call you and richard mommy and daddy. to actually see him be loved in that's a gift!! i remember the day when he was still a baby and and you drove around and around for at least an hour not giving up on me for a chance to see caleb. i don't think many people would have done that, angela... and i'll never forget richards face when i first met him before caleb was born. i knew that caleb had to be with you all. i love you all so much words can never express. my heart is broken, too. not in the same way, because i didn't and never could love caleb the way you and richard do. i love you my dear friend. and not a day goes by that i don't think of you and caleb. to think of the pain you're going through hurts me even worse than caleb not being here does. and now that i've also gotten to know caden, i feel great peace knowing that caleb is caleb because of you and richard... because it's so cool to see caleb's beautiful qualities alive in his little brother. you are such a beautiful family!! i love you my familia huffines ...<3

  8. May God bless and keep you today. Trusting and hoping in Jesus is not always easy. May He give you and yours the comfort and peace that you need right now. I think of you and Caleb often. I know that feeling of "what if?" very well but am reminded that :The past is caste in stone and cannot be changed. so I try to look forward with God's help. Sending you a hug today. Mary Nan Maberry (Josh's mom)

  9. I do keep up with your blog, although I rarely feel like I have anything worthy to write. I just am amazed with how strong you and your family are in dealing with the lost of Caleb. When my own kids complain of illness or something hurting, I do take them more serious than I used to just in case it is something serious.

    I haven't had the pleasure to meet you yet, but maybe one day. My kids are getting more involved with LEAYSA sports and I spend a lot of time at Cottonwood Park.

    Merry Christmas and God bless to you all.

    Greg Necastro

  10. I can't even fathom the pain, anger, bewilderment and loss you must feel!! I read ur blog most every time u post something but as the above person mentioned hardly ever say anything!! It seems so absurd to try to comfort someone with words that won't change the outcome of this loss!!Yes life is for the living and people, being what they are, do move on!! No one feels other people's pain so details of life take over and on we go!!I hope some day there will b a cure for cancer and no one will have to go thru what u've had to live with!! God bless u and ur family!! Your dear Caleb is so happy and well for his first Christmas in his new home!!

  11. May God wrap his loving arms around you and bring you peace

  12. I have never met you, I feel like I know you I prayed and prayed for all of you . I prayed God would heal Caleb. I still think of your family and have been praying for you even more during these holidays. I cant imagine what or how you feel During the months after my parents death and people went on with their lives I felt like it just was not fair I cant imagine your pain, everyone else goes on with their life but your is forever changed. Please know that you and Richard have touched many lives with your faith and love for our precious Lord. God Bless You and thank you for sharing your precious Caleb with us. He is in our hearts and we will meet him when we all get to heaven. Thank you for sharing your love for Jesus with us.

  13. Hi Angela,
    I think of Caleb daily, the picture that I have of Caleb is sitting at my station next to my granddaughter. You are such an amazing woman, to be able to carry all those emotions, even though we dont know the why?'s. I tell myself when we get "Home" we will know. I just wanted you to know that I will continue to keep you in my heart and prayers.

    former Supercuts

  14. I just happened upon this site tonight from visiting a site NEGU. I am tremendously sorry for you losing your precious Caleb. It breaks my heart just reading and looking at the photos. I can't begin to know or understand your pain, but I will put you in my prayers starting tonight. Hugs to you.