Dear Caelan

Six weeks.

That’s all the time I had with you. A joyous, excited, anticipatory six weeks. We hadn’t been trying, your father and I. Not technically. But we’d wanted you for so long. And then there you were. We couldn’t help but call your grandparents to share the news; there was no question of waiting to announce your arrival in the world, even if you were little more than a handful of cells in my belly.

We told your sisters you were coming. Their faces lit up with smiles. They had so many questions about you. Were they getting a brother or a sister? When would you be here? What were we going to name you?

We talked about your name. We couldn’t make any decisions, of course. Not yet. But we were counting down the days until that ultrasound, when we could.

But that ultrasound never happened. We never got to find out if you were a boy or a girl. Because by that time, you were long gone.

I want you to know, I fought for you. Even though my head was telling me you were gone, I refused to believe it. I never gave up hope that you might still be there, hanging on by however small a thread. But then the doctor said that single, awful, gut-wrenching, life-altering word: loss.

I lost you, before I ever had a chance to know you, and my heart still aches because of it. The pain has eased; time does that. But it’s never truly gone. All it takes is the smallest little reminder and the ache comes back. The tears well up. And I have to fight back the anger I feel at your being taken from me.

I went most of the day without knowing. Without realizing that today is National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. And then I saw a friend’s lantern, lit in memory, and all I could think of was you.

I miss you. So much. You can’t know how much I miss you. How much my arms still ache to hold you.

I wonder about you. I wonder if you’re a boy or a girl. I wonder if you’d have enjoyed running as much as Aubrey or singing as much as Daphnie. I wonder what your favorite lullaby would have been. I wonder if you’d have preferred your daddy’s bear hugs to my snuggles. I wonder what color your eyes would have been, what your laugh would have sounded like, what your favorite fruit and veggie would be, whether you’d have preferred a swing to a bouncer. Would you have slept on your back, like the doctors all recommend? Or would you have defied conformity and been a tummy sleeper?

I envy you. I envy your being able to talk to your Great-Grandpa Feicho. Oh, the stories he must be telling you. About me and your Uncle Forrest and your Grandpa Brian. I envy your meeting your daddy’s daddy before me. I never got to meet your Grandpa Charlie. He was gone before I ever met your daddy. And now you’re with him. And you’re not with me.

I want you to know, I carry you around with me every day. You’re in every story I write. You’re in every song I sing to your baby sister, Emsleigh. You’re in every prayer I say. Even on the days when I’m so busy I don’t have time to consciously think, don’t ever believe I don’t remember you, and wish you were here with me.

Some people think six weeks isn’t a lot of time. And it isn’t. But it was more than enough for me to know you were real, you were there, and you were everything. You were my child, and you will always be my child. You will always hold a place in my heart, and these will not be the last tears I shed for you and the person you might have been.

Every day, from today until the day I meet you at our Maker’s side, I will remember you.

I love you, Caelan.

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