This year, I decided that I wasn't going to say anything about it. We would just do our thing as a family and remember Caden in our own special way. Well, that was a HUGE mistake. I have felt so forgotten and alone this year. I don't really know what I was expecting or how I thought others would encourage us, but I guess I needed to do a better job of telling people what I need or how to help. I forget that my friends and family want to help, but don't always know how or what we need at the time. I guess we are all learning through this grief process.
So as I sit here and ponder about some of the questions people have asked me over the past week, I wanted to share some things that have helped me in the past and will help both Tom and I in the future. One thing Tom and I have both talked about is that we feel like talking about Caden makes some people uncomfortable. That is absolutely the last thing we want!!! We have gotten the sense that some people tend to shy away from us after we've shared our story, like we have a plague or something. I've tried to get a feel for people to see whether it is ok to open myself up in that way, but for us talking about him and what we've learned since losing him helps us so much. We have seen how God has changed us and blessed us since 2007, and that gives us hope for a purpose filled future.
So, here's a list of things that I have sincerely thought about that would be of great help to Tom and me while we are going through this time every year of grieving, remembering, and celebrating.
- It means so much to me when people remember that November is when we lost Caden. I know that it isn't on everyone's calendar, and it shouldn't be. I would never wish this kind of grief on anyone!!! But for his life to be remembered and to actually say that to Tom and I means more than you will ever know.
- Calling, texting, or sending a card lets us know that we are not forgotten and that our story and journey matters. Tom especially needs this!!! Sometimes guys are so nonchalant about their feelings, that they don't think they need to grieve, but it is so important to be able to look ahead.
- As I was talking to a friend the other day, she told me that she and some other friends of ours were saying some really nice things about our story and the growth that God has made in us throughout the past seven years. They were also saying how encouraging it would be for others to hear about our story. I thought that was so very kind of them to say so many great things about us. The only thing is that neither Tom nor I knew any of what was being said. I think that saying anything to us about what you have seen in us, our family, our journey, or even what God has done in our lives since makes a huge difference.
- Lastly, I've got to say this because I know that some of my friends just don't know how to help and really want to. So I'm going to say this with a little apprehension, but here goes. Saying nothing really makes me/us feel alone and forgotten. Don't worry if you bring up sad times, or if we cry or get a little emotional. Chances are that at this time of year, that is going to happen anyway.
Well, we did get out of town like we had planned. We went to a lake near where Tom works and wrote the #7 on a balloon. Then we got out some notecards, wrote a message on it, Tom said a quick prayer and released it to the sky. It was really neat to experience this with our kids now. Jaycee has asked many questions about Caden and she has a real heart for what heaven is going to be like when God tells us it's our time to go there. She wrote a little note as well, and also drew a picture and her name. We stayed there until we could not see the balloon anymore. Miles slept most of the time, but I imagine that he looks a little like Caden would have. I am still amazed that I have two blond haired, blue eyed kids, and wonder if Caden could have gotten more of my features, but I await the day when I can see him again and live forever in God's presence with him. It gives me comfort to know that he does not have to endure the hardships of this world and that he is looking out for his sister and brother until they all will be reunited.
|We all wrote notes to Caden letting him know how we felt about him and the time we've missed with him.|
|Miles was all tuckered out and slept through most of it.|
|The balloon soared through the sky, and we thought it wouldn't make it all the way across.|