September 30, 2009

Our Baby is turning 2

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 2:52 am by letterstoelias

Hello My Love,

Two years ago – almost to the minute – C was born, and yours were the first hands to touch her.  A moment of beauty that will forever last in my heart, and in hers.

I remember my labour so clearly.  It was jump started with a dose of caster oil (mixed into an iced cappuccino of course), due in part to the fact that I didn’t want to be induced in the hospital, but more so because you were due for an MRI in a few days because of the seizure you had 8 days earlier.  I was determined to go with you – which no one seemed to agree with – but I sure didn’t want you to be gone and have me go into labour without you.  I was so happy that labour started within just a few hours of taking the castor oil, and it progressed beautifully.

I put E to bed, and after a bit hopped into the bath.  When transition hit the contractions were intense – but I remember talking and laughing with you excitedly in between them.  You kept telling me how amazing I was.  You were encouraging, loving, supportive, and all I could have hoped for.  I just remember thinking how much I loved you, E, and this new little person we were about to meet.  My excitement for that imminent moment gave just the right focus for the contractions.  The midwife could see how well we were doing and gave us space to just be together and enjoy the time.  The love in the room was palpable.

When the time came to push, E woke up and came in the room for a few minutes, but she then decided she wanted to watch Cat in the Hat with Nana and Papa who had arrived moments earlier.  It wasn’t too long before C’s time had come and the midwives gave you the option to ‘catch’.  You weren’t sure at first, but suddenly you only had a few seconds to decide, and opted to go for it.  I can still see you holding up that tiny, pink, squirmy baby.  In your excitement you started to lift her higher so I could get a better look, but the umbilical cord was precariously draped across her neck and I think Auz, Petra and I all blurted out something to catch your attention.  A few minutes later E came to meet her little sister, and there we were – a family of four.  I remember you holding her, smiling down at her.  The first touch she felt and the first face she saw.  She may not have visual memories of this moment, but as Gilly said, it is a moment that is imprinted on her heart.  Nothing will ever take that away.  (it’s just too bad the first time she saw you, your hair was that awful yellow/blonde colour from the cops for cancer fundraiser =)

Caia Rose - October 07 087

I firmly believe that to be true.  Tonight, as we were about to get ready for bed, I asked E to pick out her jammies.  As she left to do so, C started saying, “Daddy! Daddy!  Daddy!” in her happy little tone.  I wasn’t sure why, but it’s not entirely out of the ordinary for her to do so – it’s just usually prompted by a photo or her locket, and that didn’t seem to be the case this time.  I asked her if she wanted me to get her jammies for her, or if she wanted to pick them out.  Usually she asks me to, but tonight she wanted to.  A moment later she came running back in the room, waving her t-shirt with your face on it, again exclaiming “Daddy!  Daddy!  Daddy!”  She has worn it many times as a shirt, but never to sleep in.  I thought it was interesting.  It made me smile.  As I was reading the girls their bed time stories, Martin called.  The girls were waiting while I spoke a bit with him, and C started saying, “Daddy home.  Daddy home.” a number of times.  It’s hard to explain her tone though – she did not sound sad – she almost sounded like she was ‘asking’ for you to be home, but more like she was stating a fact, and she sounded content.  I guess only she knows, but again, it made me smile.

I do think C’a been a little short-changed in the birthday department.  She was born not long after your seizure and only two days after her birth we received confirmation of what we had suspected, your tumour had grown back again, and this time you would be going on chemo.  I, of course, having lost my battle to come with you to Vancouver, had to get the news over the phone.  What was supposed to be only a happy, wonderful time; became a frightening, uncertain time as well.  C’s first birthday came just a few weeks after getting confirmation of again what we had suspected, your tumour had grown – though this time it was extremely extensive and growing much faster.  We had just started with Dr Chan a few days earlier, and were unexpectedly staying with your parents.  We had not prepared anything for C’s birthday, and I remember you bought her present (a book) the day of her birthday, while shopping with her.  No wrapping paper, we just took it out of the bag from the store.  We did have cake with your parents, but there were many things about that night day that just didn’t go as one would hope for their child’s first birthday.  I know she won’t remember this, but I do.

Gabe & Claude's pix 023

Now, a year later, I was not planning on doing anything big for her birthday as I didn’t feel I had the emotional capacity to do so.  I hadn’t even planned on buying a present, knowing she would be well looked after in that department by others and she wouldn’t be missing out.  As I lay in bed last night I started feeling badly about this, so this afternoon I dropped E off at ballet and went to London Drugs, with C on my back in the ergo, and bought her present while shopping with her.  And yes, it was a book (as well as some new markers).  This time I plan to wrap it at least though, and she was distracted by other things and didn’t really see what I bought.  And, true to my usual form, I had an idea late this evening to frame a photo of the two of you together – I had to ‘borrow’ a frame that had a different photo in it, and perhaps I’ll buy another one later.  I believe the photo is the last one I have of just the two of you.  We were at the park near your parents’ home, and you were helping her down the slide.  I used the photo in the slide show at your memorial.  I love it.  Looking at it, I can hardly believe that less than two weeks later you were gone.  I also printed a few out from the day she was born for her to see.  If I had given myself more time I would have put a small album together.  The framed photo I decided not to wrap.  It is here on my bedside table, waiting for her to wake up and find it (she’s sleeping on the other side of me right now).

Gabe & Claude's pix 082

I also made a last minute decision to change the plan for the night as well – originally we were just going to have dinner, presents and dessert with just the girls and I with my parents at their place, but I got to thinking that Buz and Sian and the boys have been such an amazing part of our lives in the past few months, almost daily, and have been there for us through everything.  I thought it would only be fitting to include them in the dessert portion of the evening.  So, we will have dinner and presents at my parents, then head home to have cake with Buz, Sian and the boys.  I insisted they not purchase a gift, but I suspect the request was not taken seriously.  I know it’s entirely possible I’ll be a big sobbing mess – another reason why I didn’t want to invite anyone – but I know they can handle it.

I’m hopeful that since I have ‘pre-grieved’ this day so much in the past few weeks, that when the day starts (in the next few hours) it won’t be ‘as’ bad as I anticipate (I’ve heard this can happen).  We’ll see.  All I can say is the day won’t be right without you here.  You are missed immensely regardless (to say the least), but days like this it’s just magnified – whether it’s the first birthday without you, or the thirtieth, your absence will always be felt.

Before saying good night, I wanted to share a poem that struck a chord with me – I read it the other day in the Alchemy of Loss book (which I finally just finished), and it is by Henry van Dyke:

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is Not.


P.S  I Love You (and I will see you again – in time)



  1. brenda said,

    It is still hard to believe such a good man and father is gone. Looking at the picture of Caia and Elias is a little heartbreaking. I hope your day goes as well as it can – and wish the little sprite a happy birthday from Auntie!

  2. Bridie said,

    Happy Birthday Caia : )

    We love you so much! You have SO much of your Daddy’s personality–his warmth and, his mischievousness, too! I wish we could be with you guys tonight. Hope to see you soon.

    All our love,

    Auntie Bridie, Uncle John and Mira, too.

  3. Roads said,

    I will see you again – in time.

    That was the vicar’s promise at Jenny’s funeral. And it was easy enough for him to say.

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