Eighteen years ago today I had my first born. An adorable baby boy. I remember sitting on the floor and holding him and thinking, “I never have to give him back.” Little did I know, I would have to give him back. Little did I know that our relationship was going to be different than I ever expected it to be. Little did I know that after the first four birthdays, I would be celebrating them without him physically here. And finally, little did I know that my life as the mother of this incredible miracle would be filled with such a journey of pain that I would continually be faced with.
Losing a child, or any loved one leaves you looking at life differently. You fight through the moments of despair just praying that they will pass so you can actually breathe again. You laugh at the memories that you were left with and roll your eyes at the struggle you faced while they were alive. You hope that when you fall asleep they will appear in your dreams just so you can get one more chance to hold them in your arms again and kiss their face and tell them you love them. There are pictures that stain your mind that you continue to shake out of your head, praying that one day they will disappear, but know they never will.
But I also know I will never stop celebrating the life I got to share with him. My Kaleb, my Bug. In four short years, he was my world, and I was his universe. I learned how it felt to create a human being inside of my body. I experienced love that was deeper than I ever imagined was possible. I learned that I really don’t have much patience with that stubborn child and learned how to start being more consistent. I found that this child that I loved so strongly could push my buttons in a way that I never would have guessed. I became more challenged and more fulfilled than I ever thought was possible, because he gave me that ever lasting title of “Mom.” I discovered that I knew nothing about raising a child, and wish I never learned what it was like to lose one.
Since then I have learned to suffer. I have learned that I can cry with my whole body and stain my cheeks with tears. I have experienced sheer terror in life and with that have also felt pure joy. I have learned that the only person that can heal me is me. Because he left this world in his physical form I have found a way to keep him close to my heart and I have learned to love with no conditions. Little did I know I would gain a purpose bigger than myself and continue to peel back layers that give my reason for living meaning beyond words. Little did I know I could become grateful for tragedy, for loss and for pain. Little did I know that I would believe with my entire being of who I am that the only thing we have in life is love, the relationships we form and memories we are making right now. Little did I know that 18 years ago today that the life I was blessed with life and the death I endured would be the one in my life that could truly open my eyes and show me how to thrive.