Me: Hey, Caden! Yellow truck!
Caden: Mom, you're not playing the game right. Yellow trucks don't count. Those were Caleb's rules and he's dead now, so I get to make the rules.
(Way to go, son. Just drive that knife deeper into my heart and twist it around a few times. You didn't mean to make me cry. You were just stating a fact - Caleb is dead. How could either of us know that grief would choose that moment to rear it's ugly head and cause me to lose control?)Me: Oh?! Just because your brother is dead, should we stop playing things he liked? Should we get rid of things that were his? Okay, we won't ever play the "Yellow Game" again. Then, let's get rid of Super Mario Brothers, Star Wars, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Cart because they were all Caleb's, too. Then we'll get rid of Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders and Mouse Trap along with all the books in your room that were his. Oh, then there's half the toys that are in your room. They were his, too. Is that what you want? Should we just get rid of everything that reminds us of your brother. Because I can't do that. And it really hurt my feelings that you would even say something like that to me.
Caden: No, Mom! That's not what I meant. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry. I don't want to get rid of those things. I don't want to get rid of anybody's things.
(Yep, I lost it. Totally lost it. Took out my grief on my 5-year old son. Caden didn't deserve any of it.)Caden, how could you possibly know that it's all I can do to get through each day this month without breaking down in a pile of tears. How could you know how much it tears me apart when you come out of your room at night saying, "Mom, I miss my brother." There's no way you can understand how much it hurts that you even know about death so early in your life. You're only five years old. You weren't quite even 2 1/2 when Caleb died.
I never know when grief will strike. I never know HOW grief will strike. The most mundane thing can be taking place. Then, BAM! "Hi! I'm Grief! Just wanted to make sure you haven't forgotten me. I'm still here!"
These next couple of weeks will surely take their toll as we approach March 25th. For those who say, "This, too, shall pass," I say, "Not bloody well likely." We'll never stop grieving Caleb. Our grief may change as the years continue to pass, but it will likely always be here. Hiding in the background. Waiting for the most inopportune moment to slam us to the ground again. It doesn't get easier. We just learn how to cope with it better.
Oh, and after we got home, I did apologize to Caden for what I said and how I acted. And, sweet little boy that he is, apologized to me, again, for making me cry. We then held each other and cried together. Then Caden said the most profound thing to me and I just know that he means it to the very depths of his soul.
"Mom, you know that when we die, we'll get to go to Heaven and Caleb will be right there waiting for us, right next to Jesus."
And with that simple comment, peace came over me again. Thank you, God, for giving this special little boy to us.
We still miss Caleb every moment of every day. He is always in our hearts, always in our thoughts, and is loved today, tomorrow, in ALL ways to infinity and beyond.
Angel, Richard & Caden