This is him, our precious Cain just moments after his birth, the first and one of the only times we saw him alive. It’s been almost one month since I saw this precious little face. I never knew I could miss someone so much that I only got to meet for a moment. He was such a huge part of me for the past seven months. I knew his strength from the power he packed in his kicks and punches. He was like his big brother, Coop, in that respect. Never still. A squirmy worm, that’s what I called him. The nurses all marveled at what an active baby he was. He was always on the move, all day, all night. Now, it’s hard not feeling him move anymore. Normally, that absence would be replaced with seeing him and watching him move, so the void is tremendous. Part of me just feels empty, and in a sense, I am.
When Coop went down for his nap today, I finally made myself go through Cain’s things from the hospital. I won’t lie. It was hard to make myself go through that. I walked into what would have been his room several times before I finally decided to open that small blue box. Inside, Cain’s tiny handprints and footprints, his tiny little wristband, a few pictures from his baptism and his little hat. That, along with the seven months of memories, is all I have. No child in my arms, just a blue box, not even full, of things, and I found myself sitting there with tears streaming down my face thinking, “Is this really happening to me?” Unfortunately, it is, so no matter how hard, I have to face it.
That’s not all though. It seems like every minute of every day, Cain consumes my thoughts, and when I finally manage not to think of him, I am reminded by another random email that I signed up for when I was pregnant – Enfamil, Pampers, This Week in Pregnancy. It seems like for everyone I block or send to spam, two more arrive in its place. I go to the store to get pull-ups for Coop, and I feel tears stinging my eyes because I don’t have a box swaddlers diapers in the buggy. And to top it off, I can spot a pregnant lady or a newborn a mile away. If you have ever lost a child, you know what I mean. It’s that moment of jealousy, envy, dread. No, I don’t wish my pain on them, but I want to grab them and say, “Do you know how blessed, how lucky you are because I didn’t . I took it for granted. Please don’t do the same thing I did.”
In addition to the above, Coop has asked about Cain almost daily lately. He reaches for my tummy and says, “I wanna kiss Cain.” He used to do that all the time. Now, I have to explain that Cain isn’t in my tummy anymore. He's in heaven, and I know Coop doesn't understand, but he will one day. Still, it’s hard to fight back tears while explaining to a 2 year old that he will no longer get to meet his brother, that there will be no baby coming home. Whenever Coop sees me take medicine, he says, “That’s Cain’s food,” because that’s what I would tell him when I took my prenatal vitamins, that it was food for his brother. And every time I tell Coop to be careful because I have a boo-boo on my tummy, he thinks I am talking about Cain, so naturally, he mentions his brother. I can hold back the flood of emotions only long enough to lock myself in the bathroom and cry because I don’t want Coop to see me that sad. I want to hide this kind of pain from him, and not let him know how much I am hurting because I don’t want him to worry about me. And I don’t want him to associate Cain’s name with sadness because I know there will come a day when I can talk about Cain and smile, not cry. One day, but not today.
Today, I am sad, and that’s okay. I am sad because rather than surrounding myself with cuddly, soft, baby items, I am forced to pick out a cold, drab headstone for my son’s grave. I am sad because my son will never know the comfort of my arms, because I will never get to look into his eyes, to know what color they will be, or see his smile or even hear his cry. I am sad for a thousand other reasons. But for another reason I am happy. I am happy because my child is in heaven, and that alone outweighs all of my hurts, my wishes, my dreams. No matter how much we hope for our children, we pray above all else that they know God, His infinite love and forgiveness. Cain has that now, and he’s surrounded by my loved ones, safe in the arms of Jesus where no hurt of this world will ever touch him. For that, I am happy. For that reason, I can think of him and smile.