It was a Wednesday, October 3, 2012, my alarm went off as it always does at 5:44 so that we can make sure our nurse can get out the door at the end of her shift at 6:00. Kaleb’s hospice nurse, Doug, had placed a Foley catheter the day before and when we got up in the morning we discovered there was no output all night, his heart rate was high and his oxygen levels weren’t going any higher than the 80’s on 3L of oxygen – all bad signs, his body was beginning to shut down. I laid curled around his head and Daddy wrapped himself around Kaleb’s waist because, at this point, he couldn’t tolerate being moved. Around 7:30 Dave got up to call work and let them know he wouldn’t be coming in. I was kissing Kaleb and telling him how much I loved him, then I leaned in close to his ear, and whispered through my tears that I would “never be ok without you but I can’t stand to see you this way…it’s ok to let go, you don’t have to fight so hard for me anymore. I love you and I always will.” A few minutes later, at 7:36, he exhaled his last breath and just like that, he was gone. For the next hour and a half, I held him in my arms and rocked him in the chair like that was going to bring him comfort, or maybe I thought it would give me comfort, but it was hard to accept while holding him in my arms, that he was gone. We had all the arrangements made but there were still calls to make, and we had family to notify; I had to put him down. Sometime during this, Dave had called Doug and he was with us, then the “man” from the funeral home showed up. Doug and I gave Kaleb a sponge bath, then Dave placed his body on the gurney wrapped in one of his bed sheets. I watched from the dining room window as they carefully put him into the van, and it drove off with my little boy inside. That was five years ago and I still remember every detail, this was the shortened version. Kaleb gained his freedom for this horrible disease, but we were about to enter a whole new world of life without him!
I guess it goes without saying, today is hard, and I know that it ALWAYS will be because with each year that passes, it doesn’t get any easier. Usually, on days when I'm not really "ok," I will tell you that I am, it's easier that way and I know that's the answer you want to hear. Today, I will tell you the truth, I am not ok, and since you are reading this, and because we are friends, I say this from a place of love…
Today, say his name – I will cry, and YOU will have to be ok with that.
Today, don’t tell me time heals all wounds because it doesn’t.
Today, do not start your sentence with “At least” because nothing you can say from there is going to make me feel better.
Today, do not say, “he’s in a better place”, I know this, but I miss him.
Today, don’t tell me how strong I am, because I don’t want to be strong, I’m tired and I hurt.
Today, do not tell me that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle because that is not true. I can’t handle this – God does, and I just rely on him to hold me up, but on days like today, even that can be hard. The Bible tells us that even Jesus wept.
Today, it is perfectly acceptable, and probably better, to say nothing at all, just hug me and remind me that you remember I had a son whose name is Kaleb, because today, that’s about all I can handle.