Nov 4, 2014

On Complicated Grief and Love and a Little Boy

Our toilet got clogged last night. Then, in the process of trying to get it unclogged, it, of course, overflowed. And you know that water isn't "fresh" toilet bowl water. It is yucky, ucky, stinky, crap-filled water. Spilling over onto anything in its path.

Our nighttime bathroom mishap pretty much feels like a metaphor of... today? Life? The grief of losing our son?

Today is the first anniversary of Calvin's due date. I'm pretty sure my emotions are all clogged up inside of me until they aren't anymore and they just kind of seep into anything surrounding me. (Yes, I totally just compared this all to an overflowing toilet.)

Although not every day, I think about Calvin a lot. It is mostly in passing, in casual conversations with Adam and the girls. He is included when the girls do family counts and in pictures they draw. Paige has designated her old green blanket his. We talk to him and pray to him when snuggling into bed at night. And his blue blanket is still tucked under my pillow. I'm still waiting for a dream from him.

Truthfully, I don't spend much time imagining how our lives would look if he had lived. If things had been different. Oh sure, when I see a random baby boy around Calvin's age, I usually get a little flutter in my heart. Or when I see a chunky baby in blue with his daddy, my heart aches for Adam not to have the experience of raising his son. But mostly I don't let myself think about "what if" or "if only" because it is just impossible to know.

I can not imagine having a one-year-old son right now. I can not imagine what it would look like or feel like to be chasing after a toddler who goes from room to room finding every tiny toy the girls leave on the floor. I can not imagine the "Mo-oms!" being called when he, once again, ruined whatever his sisters were playing with. I can not imagine shopping in the little boys section full of blues and greens and clip-on bow ties. I can not imagine what adjustments our family would have made. How we would interact with each other, how we would feel. I can not imagine who our girls would be if they hadn't lost their brother.

Mostly, as much as I wish Calvin could be here. I know he can not. And he never was going to be. And I'm okay with that. It is why I can love Nora without any guilt toward Calvin. There is no "it could have been" with him alive in our lives. And I miss him, of course I do. And I love him, of course I do. But I know that things are Right with us. Calvin prepared the way for Nora, because without losing him, we would mostly likely not have her.

And having Nora here is definitely Right. (It is important to me that Nora grow up knowing that, even though we miss her older brother, we would not trade her for him. It might be hard to imagine or understand, but I know that he is where he is supposed to be so that Nora could be here with us.)

And I can't imagine our lives looking any different that what we have right now. The blessed experience of carrying our son for six and a half months. The joy and utter devastation of cradling his little body. The fear and hope of another baby. The hesitant excitement of a healthy pregnancy. The abounding love of welcoming Nora.

I am terribly sad that Calvin didn't get to stay with us, but I am incredibly grateful for the gift he gave us. And I will shed tears of love as we remember him today and the gift he was for our family.

xoxo, christine

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