Today it has been 3 years since we last saw and touched Caden. We missed him a lot today. We decided that we were going to do some things together as a family to remember him and to celebrate what he has meant and done for our lives since last having him. This time of year always is kind of hard for us, because Halloween was the last time that Caden was alive. It is in a way bittersweet now because we have a beautiful little girl who we so very much want to celebrate, but we also don't want to forget what Caden brought to our lives too. It is something that we never imagined that our little family would have to be thinking about.
We decided today to just get away for the day and remember and talk about the things that have happened since losing Caden and also the things that never would have happened without going through the grief of losing him. I have had a hard time lately with that, because I don't want to be sad anymore and I am wanting to look at the beautiful things that have come about as a result of Caden. There are many that I don't even realize.
We decided to get 3 green balloons and head out of town. First we went to my parents house. They have been so very gracious about showing us that they care and remember Caden too. It has amazed me how much that they think about him too. My relationship with them has been a lot closer and easier to talk to them about the hardships of life than what it used to be. I believe that Caden was the cause of bringing us together like that. I thank him for that.
While we were reflecting about the last 3 years, I was thinking about how much has changed in me and in our relationship too. Tom and I have gone through a lot!!! We sometimes just don't know how to comfort each other, but we have had to have many really tough conversations and have had to step out of our comfort zones frequently these last 3 years. He knows me better than anyone and I know that God put him in my life for a special reason.
We were thinking back to the new friendships we have made since losing Caden. That is one of the things that I am choosing to look at as a result of losing him. There are so many painful memories that I don't want to remember and that I remember all too much that when I can think about the good things that have come from losing him, it makes all of the heartache and grief seem to mean something to me.
At first when we lost Caden, many people asked us if there was anything that they could do for us. We had no ideas how to even answer that question, but when we did, we were so unsure and scared how to approach those people again. We would wonder, Did they really mean it? Should I call them? What if they don't want to talk to me? What will I do then? Those questions ran through our minds constantly. I remember actually saying to myself that I need help and these people said I could call them, so here goes. I got up every ounce of courage that I had and I made a phone call. There were several times that I knew that person was not the person for me to talk to at that moment, but there were a couple of acquaintances (at least back then) that I called and they dropped whatever they were doing to just sit with me, or bring me a cherry coke, or take a walk with me, or just let me cry or pray with me. I will never forget that for as long as I live. That meant the most to me. I felt like I was OK to be the weepy, out of control, crying, wreck of a person that I was back then and they were completely OK with me the way I was. I don't think that those people would be such good friends as they are today had it not been for Caden bringing us together. While I wish that I wouldn't have had to lose him to gain a new friend, I forever am grateful that he brought me out of my shell and allowed me to be vulnerable and real with people in a way that I never could before. Through that I learned a great peace that is still with me now that we have continued to grow our family. I believe that God put Caden in our lives to leave that type of legacy for us.
Right before we released the balloons, well, there was only one by the time we got up to the top of the building because it was kind of windy and they flew away on their own and one popped while we were writing a note on it. Tom took a moment to say a little prayer for Caden and our family and prayed that God would help us continue learning how to remember Caden in a special way each year and to bring to lessons we have learned from him with us. I spoke a short word as if I were talking right to Caden himself. I so wish that I could do that more, but it is hard. I want Caden to know that I really miss him and that he has changed my life so much!!!! I hope that he is keeping a place for us in heaven and that he will continue to watch over Jaycee when we can't. I feel like when I look at Jaycee I see bits and pieces of Caden in her and it makes me cry and smile all at the same time. After that we both held Jaycee's hand and let her release the balloon to the sky.
Later on in the day, we decided to just hang out and see what we could find to do. We stopped at a place where they had a small toy truck that Jaycee could ride and she had some fun with that. It was a wonderful day. We did a lot of talking in the car about what we were doing 3 years ago, and it makes me sad to think about it. I don't want to remember all the hospital stuff, but that is where I was then. I told Tom that I want to go from this point on remembering the positive things that have come about as a result of Caden. I know that those sad days will come especially when those milestone days hit, but I also know that Caden is rejoicing in heaven and preparing a place for us when it is our time to join him.
Throughout our grieving period, I searched and searched through my Bible for things that would comfort me and help me continue finding some sense of myself again. There were many that went right along with what I was going through. Here are a couple of my favorites.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
"...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength."
Thanks for listening to me share some of my most recent reflections about Caden and our journey through life without him.