This past weekend was very emotional with Caleb's viewing and memorial service. Both were extremely difficult to get through, however the viewing more so than the actual service.
Perhaps it was due to the fact that the viewing reminded me of all that we'd lost, while the memorial service allowed us to reflect on all the fun we'd had during our short time together. I don't know. But in any event, it felt good to share that time of reflection with everyone who loved and adored Caleb.
In fact, when we were all gathered outside the sanctuary in the foyer immediately following the service, there seemed to be a gentle current of peace that swept us all up in itself.
Like the soft waves of the ocean, you could feel it swirling around, through and in between everyone as they stood. I believe that it was the Lord's presence enveloping the crowd, and He seemed to whisper, "I'm here and Caleb is with me. He's just fine. Be happy, because he is happy."
After the service we had the pleasure of visiting the Ballesteros' home. We didn't bring the children this time, as my son Ethan was very upset following the service and decided he really didn't want to go. So Dean and I went ourselves while the children were at Awana Club.
As always, Rachel and Albert were completely warm and inviting. Their beautiful home was filled with the sounds of family and friends, and you could literally *feel* all that love everywhere you turned. I was so happy that they have such a strong, caring family. It was wonderful to see them both smiling as we talked about Caleb.
While there, Albert introduced me to his little 9 mo. old niece, Guiliana Rose. He insisted I hold her, saying that it would be "good" and "theraputic" (I think that's the word he used) to do so. And it was...she is a beautiful little thing. However, I wasn't prepared for the surge of emotion that welled up within me as I realized just how strong of a resemblance she shared with Caleb.
If Caleb had been a girl, this is what he would've looked like. No doubt about it!
The same gorgeous dark eyes, the same enchanting smile, the same delicate "frappucino" skin. It was really amazing, and all together wonderful.
I held back tears as she gnawed on my shoulder, just as Caleb had only days before. I did make the comment that she was still "different" and "didn't smell the same". Nor was her personality like Caleb's.
As every parent knows, every one of your children is just different from the others. Whether siblings or relatives...they're all different. And you can instantly feel that difference when you hold them. That's how it was when I held Guiliana. Similar on the outside...yet very different.
Caleb's spirit seemed to say, "Look at me and let me look at you. Let's talk together." Guiliana's seemed to say, "Wow! Look at that! Let's go over there."
I titled this post "I'm back" because that's how I feel. I'm back to a new normal. I'm still babysitting for Kelvin and the twins. I did consider giving it all up immediately after losing Caleb, but I'm glad I didn't. Like my good friend, Tiffani said; this is who I am. And to stop babysitting--well, that's not me. And it doesn't do any justice to Caleb's memory.
I'm back working at Gymboree, and have even straightened the baby clothes. At first, I wanted nothing to do with the back of the store where the newborn and infant clothing is. But I'm better now.
I'm back to working out and cleaning the house on a daily basis. Not that I ever really stopped cleaning or squeezing in some exercise here 'n there. But I find my workouts and chores now give me a renewed sense of focus. Crazy as that may sound.
I'm back to reading and learning to enjoy life again, without feeling intensely bitter whenever I see a baby that looks about Caleb's age. In fact, I'm in the middle of reading two books by Don Piper; "90 Minutes in Heaven" and "Heaven is Real". Both of which are helping me to move forward and ask God to show me what it is He wants me to learn from this experience.
This is my prayer for all of us effected; what are we to do now? How can this be used for good? Not that it is good, but how can we use it for good. I'm especially concerned to see how this is to work in the lives of my children who are still very much effected and are dealing with their grief.
My older two, Sierra (nearly 12) and Ethan (nearly 9), seem to be the most sensitive right now. Prayers for them are appreciated. As well as continued prayers for Rachel, Albert and Bryson.
I have my moments of sadness, but they're just that. Moments. Many times during the day, I'm reminded of Caleb...whether its by seeing an old toy that he used to gnaw on, or just thinking I hear him crying in the back room (really, this happens every day and it's kinda freaky. Sierra's also said, "Mom? I think I can hear Caleb crying in the bedroom." Weird.), or sniffing the shirt I was wearing his last day here (I haven't washed it yet because I'm not yet ready to give up his smell). He's a part of our lives, and we'll never forget him.
But overall, our grief is easing up a bit more each day.
In other news, Dean has started spinal decompression treatments at a local chiropractic clinic. We're really trying to do anything we can possibly think of to avoid the surgery. But so far, this hasn't helped ease his pain at all. (Sigh) I'm hoping and praying that it does soon. It hurts to see him so much pain all the time. Not a moment goes by where he's not in pain.
On a happier note, my son's 9th birthday is next month. He's all into Transformers now, after watching the movie the other day. (Go figure!) And my daughter Sierra will be 12 years old in December (Yikes). And in between and after are all the holidays...Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. We won't be able to afford much, but I'm trying to think of ways to make it really special, regardless. And in any event, the Lord knows what the children need so we're good. :-]
Well I'm getting hungry, so I'm off to make a veggie sandwich. Hope everyone out there's having a good day. Until next time...