Hey Jude — “The Little Things: A Mother’s Rambling Thoughts”

(Written 1.21.2015)

It’s the little things that seem to get to me.

 

I’m a little more than thrown by the fact that it’s almost been a month since we lost you. We haven’t even passed your birthday yet. I’m confused by how I feel. I don’t cry as much as I would like. I miss you, and I know I miss you because things are different. The silly little things that I was excited about before I had you –like, being able to have a glass of wine or getting back into shape, don’t matter at all to me anymore. I would never exercise or have another glass a wine again if it meant having you with me, sweetheart.

 

It’s funny –in a way that’s not funny at all—how the things that I thought were exciting and important for after I had you don’t matter now that I’ve lost you. When I think of your little angel face and your soft skin (still covered in little peach fuzz to keep you warm) all I can think of how nothing else matters.

 

I know you’re watching over us from heaven, and I know you see Lillianne grow and say new words every day. I remember when Lillianne was a baby, your Auntie KK said she wondered what Lillianne’s voice was going to sound like. I know you can see my heart and that you know it’s the most wonderful sound in the world to me. Mommy wonders often what your little voice would have sounded like. What words would you have said first? What would be your favorite words? Would you love Elmo, too? Would you have toddled after your big sister? Would you have cried when she cried like when the baby who would’ve been your friend, Cate, cries when her sister, Sophia cries. My angel boy. You would have been so sweet; I just know it.

 

I miss you so much my little angel heart. I think about your Uncle Adam a lot, too. You and Lillianne would have been the same age apart as Uncle Adam and Mommy are. I think about Uncle Adam when he was five and in kindergarten. I can remember his little cheeks and pointy chin; his shining eyes and hopeful expression. He never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings; he cared about everyone. I wonder if you, too, would have been as kindhearted as Uncle Adam. In the thoughts I have about you, I believe you would have been.

 

I’m sure you are thinking that I’m making a mistake in thinking of only how perfect you are and would have been. I promise I’m not so silly as to assume that you, too, wouldn’t jump on the furniture like your sister or wouldn’t throw your food when you were tired of it. I know those things would have made me tired. I wonder if I would have had less patience with those things had things been different.

 

I’ll never know, will I? I know that losing you made me realize how silly getting tired or stressed or frustrated over little things – a messy kitchen or unfolded laundry or having to get up 10 times a minute to keep your sister off of the furniture—truly is.

There’s no hyperbole for what I would or wouldn’t do to be able to have a few moments with you. Knowing the life I’ll have to wait a lifetime to meet (you, my son), I don’t feel like I can be bothered being upset over anything. I realize –and it scares me so much—that there are no guarantees for anything. I am not guaranteed to have your sister forever…or your father. I’m not guaranteed that you’ll have any younger siblings that you can watch over from heaven. Darling Jude. I don’t know if I did or how much I did take it for granted before, but losing you has exponentially impacted my desire to not take any of life’s moments or the people I love most for granted. Life is too short.

 

It’s ironic, in a way, that it’s the little things that matter least and the little things that matter most. Or maybe I’m saying that wrong. I just know that small things have become even smaller. Things that seemed like they mattered have no relevance at all. Little moments like reading a bedtime story to Lillianne or watching her dance around with her guitar dog toy thing rather than tidying up matter so much more than they used to. I always recognized that those moments were fleeting and enjoyed them, but I could have enjoyed more of them, and I could have enjoyed them better.

 

If living in regret weren’t such a frivolous undertaking, I would feel ashamed for how much I looked forward to your sister falling asleep when she was an infant, so I could have some personal time. I know you know that I enjoyed my time with her and that I loved her and held her and took care of her, but I know you also now know how I looked forward to her falling asleep, so I could have personal time.

 

Oh Jude. The perspective I gained is immense, but the cost is even more so. It breaks Mommy’s heart that I didn’t have the ability on my own merits to become a smarter, better, and wiser person without losing you. I promise I would have been a good mommy to you if you could have stayed. I would have loved you more and more everyday, just like I did when you lived inside of me and just like I do now. You’re my “son” shine, sweet boy. Thank you for the light and for helping me see the difference between the small things and the little things. I love you, Jude David Delcambre.

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Hey Jude – “You are Real”

(Started December 28, 2014; completed December 29.  This was shared at Jude’s funeral on December 31, 2014 alongside a velveteen rabbit with which he was buried.)

I don’t think it matters when we lose our babies…they’re real, and our love for them and our pain from losing them is so very real no matter how far along we get in thinking we might meet them and hold them and hear them laugh or soothe their tears.

 

Dear Jude,

 

Last night, Mommy and Daddy came “home” from the hospital. You didn’t come with us because you were already at home. Instead, Daddy and I brought your very few but very precious Earthly treasures home in a little box.

 

The first thing I did when I got home was hold your sister. She was very upset; I think somehow, she knew what happened and she was sad that she wouldn’t get to meet you. When you physically lived inside of Mommy, Lillianne would hug you and kiss you. She would lay her head on you and rub her little mouth on you. She loved you so much, sweetheart. We all did, and we all do, and we all always will.

 

Mommy was very thankful that your GiGi and Grandpa and Uncle Adam were here when she and Daddy came home because she needed to find some things to give you. In two days, Mommy and Daddy will have the only birthday party they will ever be able to have for you. Mommy wants that to be so very special because you are so very special.

 

When we knew Lillianne was coming, Mommy had what’s called a shower. Your Auntie Becca had a book shower, and everyone who came brought books that they thought would help your sister grow into a beautiful kind-hearted little woman. Auntie Becca, who is Mommy’s special friend, gave Lillianne a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. Mommy hadn’t read that story in years.

 

After Lillianne was born, Mommy would nurse her and rock her and read to her. One book Mommy chose to read was The Velveteen Rabbit. Mommy cried as she read about a little stuffed bunny that belonged to a little boy; the bunny so very desperately wanted to be real. The wise skin horse helped the bunny explain that we became real when we are loved.

 

As the little boy grew close to the bunny, the bunny was filled with feelings of love and joy when the little boy called him “real”; however, the bunny’s heart was broken when the little boy became sick and they would have to be separated. The little velveteen bunny was taken away from the little boy.

 

It was at this time that a miracle happened; a magical fairy came to the little bunny and fully transformed him from being a little boy’s treasured doll and companion into a real bunny who could live among real bunnies. At the end of the story, the bunny goes to a special place to live with other real bunnies; though, he returns occasionally to watch over the little boy who loved him so dearly and whose love brought him to life.

 

I am telling you this, my darling Jude, because I feel like it’s a metaphor for all of us. Though we never got to see you blink your eyes or hear you cry or feel you take a breath, you are so very loved, and you are so very real to us.

 

My Jude. You are so real. Just like the rabbit in the story, you were taken away from the ones who wanted to keep you and shower you with love forever and ever and you were taken to a magical place called heaven with other real little babies; you are all real my darling for you are all so very loved. I pray that just like in the story, you will watch over Daddy, Lillianne, and me. We will need your love, my darling, to somehow be happier that you are in a magical place for real, loved babies and that we cannot be the ones who hold you close every day.

 

As a little birthday present and so everyone will know how real you are, Mommy and Daddy are giving you a little stuffed velveteen rabbit to keep you company in your magical place. We love you, sweet Jude, and we can’t wait to see you again one day and to be real with you in heaven.

Hey Jude

(This is the first thing I wrote for Jude; I wrote it on December 28, a day and a few short hours after we lost him.)

When Sean and I found out we were expecting a baby in 2012, we did what any excited first-time parents would do –we started looking at names. There were dozens of girl names that we liked, and then there was one boy name that we both agreed was perfect –Jude. Specifically, Jude David. When we found out we were having a girl, we decided we would keep Jude David tucked away in a special place until we had a son. As the months and anticipation grew in 2013, we kept our daughter’s name secret until we had her on June 7, 2013. On that glorious day, Lillianne Myra was born, and we joyfully shared her name with everyone.

 

On June 7, 2014, I revealed to Sean in an early Father’s Day gift that we would be adding to our seemingly perfect growing family. The early months passed quickly and at around 18 weeks, we were overjoyed to learn that we were having a little boy. Jude was the first name on my list; I really felt the need to look no further; Sean suggested we explore names, which is when the name Aedan came to me. Though I was always so sure that Jude would be my son’s name, Aedan Sean had a certain music to it that Sean and I both liked a lot.

 

Like any parents picking their child’s name, Sean and I were decidedly undecided. After all, a Jude David wouldn’t be the same person as an Aedan Sean. Initially, Sean leaned more toward Jude while I preferred Aedan. Simultaneously, we switched perspectives with Sean leaning toward Aedan for our son’s name and me preferring Jude again.

 

Jude was a special name for us. Sean had been named after John Lennon’s song, “Beautiful Boy”, for Sean Lennon. Sean’s family is all very musical. I had been named after Amy in Little Women, and I thought that giving our son a strong, uncommon Biblical name that was the subject of a song created by the iconic band from whose leader my husband’s named stemmed was utterly poetic. This was the initial reason Jude appealed so deeply to us.

 

The reason Jude fell back into my favor was that during our second trimester of our son’s pregnancy, we attended a Beatles tribute concert with another lovely couple and Sean’s brother, Michael. Ironically, this couple was the one we were thinking most strongly about asking to be the baby’s godparents, and I remember thinking of seeing if my husband wanted to ask them to be the baby’s godparents on December 26 when we exchanged Christmas gifts, but I forgot.

 

During The Beatles tribute concert, they played “Hey Jude.” I’ve never been a strong lyricist in the musical sense, and I often get the words to songs wrong. Of the song “Hey Jude”, I knew the first two words and the “Na Na Na” part. So, I sat and listened closely to a song about keeping an open heart and “taking a sad song and making it better”. Sometimes, I feel I’m often too hard or busy and forget to (or am afraid to) let my heart be as open as it should, and that night, the song’s message touched me. I kept thinking that was the song’s meaning –to be open-hearted and to be loving and receptive to feelings and to look for the beauty in even painful things would be a quality I would want my son to have for I believe that part of the way to experience life is to feel and to not close ourselves off from pain. I inwardly hoped that perhaps if I could teach my son to do this, he could teach me, too, to become a person who let others into my heart and that “would start to make it better.” That was the night the name Jude slipped back into first place.

 

As the months crept on, I asked Sean what he would want to name our baby. Sean still wasn’t ready to decide; he only said he didn’t know but that he was leaning toward Aedan. I told him we didn’t have to decide until the baby was born even though I went ahead and got an ‘A’ stocking to decorate our house for Christmas. Sean was uncomfortable with this level of commitment, and I assured him that a stocking wouldn’t decide our son’s name; we could wait until we met him.

 

Time hurtled onward, and before we knew it, we were seven weeks away from February 11 when we would meet our beautiful boy and would be able to pick a definite name. On December 26, Sean and I made an unscheduled visit to the doctor because our otherwise healthy, active baby had stopped kicking his mommy with the aggressive frequentness she had become so fond of.

 

For reasons known only to God Himself, our baby went to Heaven instead of our open, loving arms in the 22nd hour of December 26. Sean and I opted to do an emergency C-section to give our son every possible chance he had to live; however, God had other plans. The first words I truly remember hearing as I gained clarity coming out of anesthesia was that our son’s name was Jude David. And it was perfect.

 

As reality washed over me, it occurred to me that I would never be able to teach my son to “take a sad song and make it better” or to let others into his heart; however, it didn’t eclipse my awareness –despite the static of my pain—that Jude, my little Jude, had already started teaching me those lessons with more gravity than I ever thought possible.

 

Losing my son has shattered me; the intangible qualities that make me human have been sliced open and are bleeding together forming an image that is haunting and beautiful. Jude is in the palm of God’s hand now, and I know that he wants his mommy to use his lesson to become a better person, just as she hoped she could inspire him into becoming. I realize now that Jude was and always will be perfect; there is no need to teach him anything because he already knows all of life’s lessons. Instead, just as I have taken his suffering, I will also learn the lessons that I thought were meant for him.

 

My darling Jude, mommy will forever honor you by letting this pain open her heart and make her a better person. I only want to be with you again, son. I will do whatever it takes to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, so I can hold you in my arms and thank you personally for being my beautiful boy and for making my life better.