I will never forget the day Dave and I said “I do.” What it felt like to watch him profess his love to me through tears in his eyes and for me to do the same.
Then, there’s Kaleb. There was a point during labor that I feared we were going to lose him, I remember looking at Dave with tears and terror and asking why they weren’t doing something, why didn’t they just take him, what where they waiting for??? It was an eternity before I actually got to hold him in my arms and I was so relieved and happy, my heart full of love. This time, I knew how to be a mom, I knew what to do and when to do it, it was going to be easy….I was so wrong. Before we got the terrible news, Kaleb gave us some beautiful smiles, he had such an infectious laugh and millions of cuddles, he was spoiled he wouldn‘t sleep anywhere but laying on us! Images that will forever be ingrained in my memory.
Then of course there is diagnosis day - the day I learned that Kaleb was “terminal” that his mind and body would slowly fail him and that we would be lucky to have him for the next couple of years. The seizures, the suctioning, the feeding tube, and all of the medicine we used to keep him here with us. We lived in anticipation of what was to come for him and watched as he slowly slip away, helpless to do anything about it.
My lessons from him where very different that I had expected. I learned how to be a caregiver, a mind reader, a doctor, a therapist. He taught me to live each day as if it were my last, he taught me tolerance and patience (ok, so I’m still lacking in that area but not like I used to be) he SHOWED me unconditional love and trust. He taught me to renew my faith and my hope in God and humanity and he made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. My children showed me what it was like to live, to love and to be loved.
I was with my father when he took his last breath, I will never forget seeing him lying in that hospital bed the strong man from my childhood lay looking helpless and so much older than he really was - with wires and tubes coming from all sides of him. I will never forget what he looked like as they turned the machines off that were keeping him alive. I held his unresponsive hand in both of mine as the last breath escaped his body , that fast and he was gone.
I knew Kaleb was preparing to leave us, his body had begun to swell and he was unable to open his eyes. I will always remember with great happiness the hours upon hours that I sat holding him, the millions upon millions of times that I kissed him and told him I loved him. As hard as I have tried, I cannot forget what it looked like and sounded like as he took his last breath, before I even realized it was happening, he was gone from me forever.
I will NEVER, EVER forget what it felt like to hold his lifeless body in my arms. I guess it’s only fitting that as his mother I was the first and the last to hold him. Engraved on my memory is the image of Dave placing him on the gurney, we stood at the window with complete numbness as his body was wheeled away from us, placed into the back of a van and the doors closed. By the time his funeral came around I was on auto pilot but the tiny little boy that laid in the adorable little coffin, did not look like my son - I guess maybe that’s because the most beautiful part of him was already gone, his soul was already in Heaven with his grandpa. As they closed the lid of the casket and later lowered it into the ground I felt that my life has been forever changed, part of me went with him that day and the other part is left trying to figure out what to do now.
My life has taught me so far that, as cliché as it sounds, “bad things happen to good people”, and “life isn’t always fair” but I have also learned that God is good and Kaleb is healed. He is at peace and rest with his grandfather waiting for the rest of his family to join him.
Isaiah 57:1-2 “The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. 2 Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”