Grieving the loss of a child is something I never thought I’d ever have to do. Saying the words in the last few days- “We lost one of our sons”…. it leaves you breathless. The deepest hurt, the most devastating experience, a piece of your soul being ripped away. We have laid in our Father’s arms and cried the most painful of tears. There is no map for navigating these waters. Each day brings more acceptance, though it isn’t easy. I am reminded of these words…
I look back at the day we had to let Caleb go and I have no idea how I had the strength to do that. Adam and I both agree that God carried us through every second of that day. It’s so true- He gives you the grace and strength that is needed to get through THAT day. We needed more than we ever have for those impossible moments. Just before we had to prepare to let Caleb go, Adam reminded me of the book I packed, “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney- a family favorite of ours. Adam bought this before Aaron was born and has loved reading it to him. He wanted to read it to our sweet Caleb. The strength to get through reading this- it has touched my soul. I will never forget this moment. The tears a father shed for his son. The strength in a moment of such pain. I can imagine what it must have been like for God to have to lose a son. For Mary to weep for Jesus. I will never look at the simple act of reading to our children in the same way again.
The fragility of life, the gift that it is, it has taken a whole new meaning. We hear this often- from people who go through loss. It can sound cliche, but when you go through it yourself, you are changed. See, Caleb’s Calling, his purpose here on Earth, only physically lasted one week. Even if it was brief, we believe the impact was lasting. We feel he came to bless our family, but to also shine a light in the lives of others. We received so many messages- more than we can count from so many of you. I read testimonies of renewed faith, of strengthened belief, and prayers spoken for the first time in years. I have cried over and over reading these messages. THIS is the impact of telling Caleb’s story. Sharing what he has meant to us, what prayer can do, the strength God has given us, and the people God has put in our path- it has touched other’s hearts. Caleb did in a week what some can only hope to do in a lifetime. His life meant something. Not just to me as his mother, Adam as his father, and to our family- but to many others. This was Caleb’s Calling.
God did not intend for him to have to fight for years to come. This was not His plan for Caleb. It was not the plan for our family. But this was in God’s plan- to have a precious little boy bless us with his presence for 8 sweet days. He let us meet this life that was so active inside of my womb- who fought from the inside and continued to fight when he was out. God encouraged me to invite others in to see the journey of his special angel. His people came together to pray for this baby. Prayer warriors prayed intercessory prayers without ceasing. We witnessed the God-given gifts of doctors, nurses, case workers, and hospital staff. We were touched by the amazing timing of God’s messages. Faith was strengthened in the hearts of people that joined our journey- many we don’t even know. THIS was God’s plan. And the journey isn’t over. Adam, Aaron, Gabriel and I are forever changed from this experience. The help we can provide others and the opportunities to bless others are endless. We pray for God’s guidance on how to grieve and mourn, but also how to heal and how to continue to lean heavily on our faith and use it for good.
Hope and Healing
One thing that is unique about our journey is the fact that we spend our days between grief and joy. We experience the sadness of losing Caleb but also experience the joy of having Gabriel. We walk into Gabriel’s room and just soak him up. This time with him has helped start the process of healing. Though it’s certainly not his job to get us through our grief, he is motivation to acknowledge our feelings, face the tough conversations, look at the pictures, and walk through the storm. If we don’t do this, we ignore the difficult process of mourning our loss. We don’t want to push this down and not do the hard work of healing. Aaron and Gabriel are perfect reasons to work through these feelings. It won’t be overnight- there will be sadness that will always be there. Through prayer and openness, our family will keep Caleb’s memory alive and honor him by cherishing each other, putting faith and family first, and being a blessing to others.
On Friday afternoon, Gabriel was moved from the NICU to the Neonatal Progressive Care Unit, which is a step down and a step closer to getting to come home! As of today, 2/8/21, he weighs 4 lbs. 3 oz. and is growing each day. He is still learning to take his feedings through bottle. We ask for prayers that he reaches his goal of taking all pumped milk through bottles without having to put some through his tube. He is just the sweetest, most precious little baby. We are just in love with this sweet soul! We also have some exciting news- he is almost through the whole approval process of being transferred to Wake Forest Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston Salem! This would mean that we are able to come home!! Our daily commute would be about 30 min. to be with Gabriel, however being able to be at home makes it more than worth it. We are hoping this transfer can happen by Wednesday of this week. Please say prayers this transfer happens sooner than later. Being home, even while waiting for Gabriel to join us, will help our family to be able to heal.
I want to acknowledge something that has made such a huge impact on me, Adam, and our family. We have experienced the outpouring of love, support and sheer selflessness from every direction. Close family and friends, friends we haven’t seen in forever, people we don’t even know, our village of support is a mighty one. We can’t begin to express the impact this has made on us. I have many messages I haven’t been able to respond to yet and I will in time, I promise! I assure each of you we have read every single one- likely multiple times. These emails, blog comments, texts, FB comments, FB messages, etc. have helped sustain us. They have spoken to us in the most broken moments and difficult time. We thank you for taking the time to reach out to us. The gifts, flowers, cards, and monetary donations- they have touched us and your generosity has left us speechless. Thank you. We have felt the love and your prayers give us strength. Thank you for continuing to pray for us during this time of grieving and healing. We are humbled beyond measure. 🙏🏻