you loved each other so much

Besides the morning after you died, last Monday was the hardest Monday I’ve ever slogged through.  First, we managed to keep ourselves together and host Thanksgiving for a table full of heart broken people.  Then we spent the weekend helping your grieving widow put your entire home into boxes, take it to a cold, quiet storage unit and wipe all proof of your existence, even the coffee stains on the carpet.  I was doing my best to stay on task and not think about what I was actually doing, but I kept finding traces of you.  This I can assuredly promise, you will never be forgotten. You will always be with us. We just had to close this chapter so your beautiful wife, now widow, could take a step into the new life that’s been forced upon her.

 Believe me, none of us wanted to do this.  With every cell in my body I don’t want to live without you.  Maybe that’s why I ache from my head to my toes. My body remembers the flutters and kicks as you were growing, the sweet cuddles you often initiated, the smell of your hair and the sound of your (loud) peaceful breathing when you were little. I miss the tone of your grown up voice as you said “Hi Mom” whenever you walked into our home, the feel of your big biceps pulling me in for a hug, the reassurance and joy of your presence.  

my silly little boys

Josiah was recently telling me about microchimerism-  a fantastical biological process where fetal cells become part of a mother’s body; fetal cells have been found in mother’s bones, skin, liver, spleen- they even cross the blood-brain barrier and become neurons in the mother’s brain.  I know you will always be with me in my heart and soul, but I’m finding special comfort in the thought that I still have some of your cells floating around, maybe even some neurons with your name on them.  Now when I crave Ben and Jerry’s or turn around to admire the noisy diesel truck that just drove by, I’ll know why!

 I don’t want to do this, living without you.  But it’s our only option.  We’re doing our best to be in sync with the land of the living, but sometimes our hearts feel buried with you.  Sometimes I even fool myself into thinking I’m ok- I can look so normal on the outside, pushing away the taunting ghost of my pain, rarely does anyone catch me talking to him, begging him to go away.  They don’t see how he always gets the last word, like a kick in the gut.  I think deep down there is a fear that if I allow myself to unravel just a little, I won’t be able to stop.  If I don’t keep a tight grip, I’ll get lost in the pain.  I don’t really know how to do this, none of us do. 

the Leigh bros and their proud momma

 We’re holding on tight to your memory, to each other, to Jesus. And we are living as fully as we can, while suffering the pain of your absence.  At times I worry that you are looking down and seeing us going about our lives, looking like we are back to “normal”, and maybe you feel sad about that.  This is probably irrational, but it’s often where my mind goes.  But if you look closely, you will see our sadness, our deep grief. Our smiles don’t reach our eyes.  But we are still smiling, because there are things here that still bring us joy, like our baby Selah James and the terrible music your wife has taught her to demand.  Like your big brother marrying his perfect match.  Like your little brother bravely moving forward despite your absence (but because of your support).   Like the love and affection that has grown deeper between all of us as we hold each other together.  I think you would be proud of us.   I pray you live in the knowledge of our love for you, forever.  

19 Replies to “Monday”

  1. Well spoken dear one. You don’t have to leave your grief at the door because it’s the holidays. It’s who you are this year. Know you are loved in all your brokenness.

  2. I have always appreciated your sharing. You are able to put into heartfelt words what some of us are feeling but unable to convey. I recognize your pain. Clinging to the Father is the way through it all. Minute by minute. Breath by breath…

  3. I’m am amazed at your courage to share your heartbreaking journey. This part is very cool, “a fantastical biological process where fetal cells become part of a mother’s body”, we know our children carry our DNA, but how wonderful that mothers too, carry a part of their children in their body. Blessings Lalena.

  4. Love you and your family. Keeping you in my prayers daily. Resting in the knowledge that Caleb is waiting in Heaven gives me great comfort. My heart breaks for you all 💔


    1. Erin’s twin sister (Samm) married Caleb’s best friend (Kalab), and they had Selah James three weeks after Caleb died and gave her Caleb’s middle name. Means Kalab has been our “adopted” son since he was a young teenager, she’s a grandchild by heart:)

  6. Thanks for including the pic of the small boys!! That’s how I remember them in Kona!! Blessings on you and the family!!! Keep writing!!!!

  7. Once again, you beautifully draw us in to the agony of your grief and kindly reassuring us that you are still on your feet and breathing despite the greatest loss of your life. May you sense the loving Holy Spirit in a powerful and unique way today and this Christmas month. Love you sister!

  8. The lesser known fantastical biological process that happens is when the infants cells actually transfer somehow through air particles, are breathed in, and become a part of Auntie’s hearts. 🙂 My heart will always bear the pain of losing him with you, and I will cherish every memory of our sweet boy and the sweet man he became. I believe Caleb knows how much we miss him… and perhaps his cells can even feel it somehow when we think of him now…. he will most certainly always be a part of us. I love you!

    1. Shayla, i think in this case that actually did happen! Might have to run some new research projects lol. I love you too:)

  9. WoW that You can articulate your feelings so well! Amazing & Lovely !
    This is a Process like a cocoon that You All will emerge from .
    Beautiful as Butterflies in A Gorgeous Sunrise !
    It will come . Caleb is in a Joyful place but he prays for You each one !! To finish what each has been called to ! You will Experience Father Gods Love in ways you never thought you would ! Expanding , Growing , knowing God’s / Jesus pain that You will know the Joy Set Before You ! It will come in time ..The veil between heaven / earth is thin ! Caleb is praying
    You are closer in his Love than You realize .. His Love is still tangible to him ….it’s real alive in your relationships will always be there …He Cheers For Each One of You in that cloud of witness ! 💗🙏😘

  10. My tears are flowing . Your ability to put into words your pain and brokenness is a gift. Lifting you up in prayer. Sending you my love and hugs.

  11. I ache so deep for you I can feel it in my heart and my bones. What a sweet comfort to know some of his cells live on inside you.
    I’m keeping you all close in my thoughts and prayers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *