Life After Beau

These are just a few things I've written. In this emotionally chaotic time, it helps to organize my thoughts.
Thank you for sharing this life with me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Two years later....

My dearest Beau, 
Happy birthday in heaven, my sweet boy. Mommy loves you very much, and thinks of you every single day.  You are always on my mind and in my heart.  I still ache for you, and want you here more than anything in this whole world.  I wish I could hold you, and kiss you, and tell you how precious you are to me.  I hope you hear my prayers every night thanking God for your presence in my life.  Two years after losing you, now I feel peace when I think of you.  I am thankful you never had to hurt, you never had to feel pain, or hunger, or cold.  You are such a constant presence of love and light in my life, and I feel blessed.  Thank you for watching over us. 
Love, Mommy. 

Looking back on the last two years, it was such a long, hard journey to get where I am now.  So much has happened, and so much since I posted last.  I still miss my son, but mixed in with that is a sincere feeling of peace and serenity each time he crosses my mind. 
On June 27, 2011, I gave birth to Beau's little brother Maxwell James, after a very long, scary, and complicated delivery.  Max was born alive and screaming, which was music to my ears.  After I had recovered enough to hold Max, the first words I spoke to him were, "Hi Max. You have a brother in heaven and his name is Beau." Then I may have passed out under the florescent lights.  I am clearly not good at having babies. 
I can appreciate my second son for who he is, with the knowledge that chances are, he would not exist without the loss of Beau.  Max is a happy and healthy 8-month old boy, full of motion and laughter.  Even now, when I check on him while he's sleeping, I can hardly believe my eyes when I can see his chest rise and fall with each breath.  I must kiss Max at least a thousand times a day, I can't seem to get enough of his alive-ness.  I won't even delve into my dark thoughts of "if anything ever happens to Max".....because, as Nemo's dad asked Dorie, "How do you know nothing bad will happen?"   And Dorie said matter of factly, "I don't!"  For some reason that's comforting.  I still have fears, probably more than the average person, but I'm trying to life more like Dorie, instead of anxiety-ridden Marlin, Nemo's dad. 

The joy of Max does not take away the pain of losing Beau.  It still feel a vague, general "I'm missing something" feeling.  I've lost part of me by losing Beau, but I'm finding more of myself along the way.   Happy birthday in heaven, sweet Beau.  Your family loves you dearly.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas cards.

I felt I needed to incorporate Beau, somehow, into the traditional sending of the holiday cards this year.  He is, and always will be, a part of our family.  I wanted to have some kind of display for friends and family that maybe haven't heard from us since they sent the sympathy card back in March, that we are still Beau's parents and we are proud of that.  And he is never far from our minds, our hearts, our lives.  We realize he is not here and we ache for him, but he did leave us with beautiful lessons about love and how death cannot stop our love for him.  Also, I wanted people to know that it's okay to bring his name the saying goes in the bereaved community, "My child's name may bring tears to my eyes, but never fails to bring music to my ears."  (Author unknown).

The insert to the card says, "Each life leaves something beautiful behind.  Beau Nicholas Caston March 7, 2010"

Also, I realized I really did want to send holiday wishes to everyone on our Christmas card list. I appreciate getting them in the mail and wanted to keep in touch that way.  Since I un-Facebooked myself and sometimes feel a little anti-social in that regard. 

I hope everyone has a peaceful holiday; one filled with love. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holidays are hard.

I haven't written much lately, but it's not because Beau has not been on my mind.  On the contrary.  He is so much a part of my every day thoughts, my every day existence, that it would be impossible for me NOT to think of him.
The holidays have been tough.  First, Halloween.  We were handing out candy to the neighborhood kids, and something funny happened that made us sad later.  The doorbell rang, we opened the door, said hello to two-year-old Batman and his mama with huge smiles, and he walked under the bowl of candy I was holding, right into our house.  We were all laughing and the little boy seemed to want to make himself at home in our living room.  His mama had to chase him inside of our house, apologizing, which we dismissed, and they left shortly afterwords, for him to run into yet another living room.  He was adorable.  Of course it made us sad that we didn't have a little boy to dress this year, a little boy to chase after (would Beau be crawling or maybe even walking?) and a little boy to laugh at. 
Then Thanksgiving.  The invitation was open to us to go up to Steamboat to house- and cat-sit, for the weekend.  We decided that would be a good option, sitting in somebody else's house instead of ours for a change.  We drove up, enjoyed the familiar but still breathtaking Steamboat scenery, ate Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant, where we were literally the only patrons until we were halfway through our dessert.  We each said what we were thankful for.  Thanksgiving was quiet for a change.  Then we went back to the house to relax and digest.  I read Elizabeth Edward's "Resilience" book, which I credit for helping me through the day.  Thanksgiving was first real holiday since Beau's death, and I cried off and on all day.  It wasn't supposed to be like this.  Holidays are happy, and are supposed to be enjoyed with family, not sad and weepy and filled with a being-cheated-feeling all day.  But I think we did okay.  The day after, we went snowshoeing, which was beautiful and peaceful and quiet.  We made it through, even enjoyed ourselves, with just yet another holiday on the horizon.
We knew we wanted to do something different this year for Christmas.  We love our families dearly and want to be with them, but maybe it's not the time of year where we want to be surrounded by children and babies and happy gift-opening.  It's just too raw still.  So we decided to do something different.....and booked tickets to Las Vegas.  Why not, we figure.  We should go gamble a little, see a show, relax in a hotel room, and just enjoy the lights and the numb chaos that is Vegas.  So be it.  My mom will be joining us for most of the time we'll be there, and she has never seen a Cirque du Soleil show!  So that will be fun. 
So this year, we are skipping the tree, the decorations, and I even considered skipping the sending of the holiday cards.  But I want people to know that we love them, that we are not hermits, that we are looking with hope to the future while keeping the love of our son in our hearts.  I cringe every time I go into a store and hear the holiday music - not just because I find it slightly depressing this year (quite the opposite than the old me, who would start playing the Christmas music just after Halloween, which Sam loved....ha!)  but because I don't want to hear "Silent Night".  That song, I sang and hummed to Beau while I was pregnant with him.  We found out he was a boy on December 5 last year, and since that day I felt more bonded to him, more sure of him as a person.  I was trying to think of some lullabies to sing to him when he was born (I imagined he would have colic as I did as a baby) and I remember reading that babies have some memory of music played while in the womb; something about the memory of hearing/remembering music is soothing.  I couldn't think of any lullabies, so "Silent Night" it was, that I sang.  I imagined explaining later on that since I didn't know any lullabies, that's what I would have to sing to him to calm him down.  Well, we didn't make it that far, and now "Silent Night" is so depressing I never want to hear it again because to me, that's me and Beau's song.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

I know I'm interpreting this song differently now, but it still makes me sad, and it's still painful to hear that song.  I don't WANT my baby to sleep in heavenly peace, I want Beau to be here for Christmas to put wrapping paper bows on his head and maybe a little baby Santa hat.  Or elf shoes with bells on them.  

We've almost made it through the toughest year of our lives, and I just want it to be over with.  It's been hard enough, so we are taking this holiday in stride and do things a little different this year.  Because, why not.  We have even reasoned, since our cat is our only "responsibility", that Zora won't mind if we take a vacation. 
We also have a lot to be grateful for in this past year, and in general, and we are done taking things for granted.  Each day is a blessing, each moment with each other, in good health, families in good health, and we know little Beau is doing what he can to help us through this tough time of year for us.  I had a dream the other night that I was looking up at the stars, and felt an immense sense of peace and calm, and suddenly felt one sweet moment of Beau's presence.  Keep them coming, baby.  We miss you. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rudy Tootie

Our beloved dog, Rudy, made her earthly departure this week.  It was time, we have been expecting it for a while now, but we are still sad because we'll miss her.  Sam got Rudy about 14 years ago, when he was in college.  She was such a good girl.  The week that Beau died, Rudy had a small stroke (we think) and was walking sideways for a while, falling down, and not eating.  We thought it would be her "time" back in March when death seemed to overwhelm us with its presence.  But then shortly thereafter, she bounced back in a huge way.  Rudy was able to enjoy the summer with us, enjoy the new house, her new yard, and her patch of sunshine on the floor.  She went for walks in her new neighborhood, and visited a lovely new park.  But, this past week, she decided it was time to go chase the squirrels in the sky.  We love Rudy dearly, and are grateful for what seemed like "extra" time with her over this painful summer.  We needed her.  Rest in peace, Rudy, you're a good girl.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Now it's been seven.

I realized towards the end of my work day today, that today's date is the seventh.  It's been seven months without Beau.  I actually felt really ok today, I feel empowered, I feel good.  Beau is never far from my mind - in fact, he's always right there.  Right under the surface.  So close I could almost touch him, but sadly, I can't.  I can just hold him with my heart and keep him near, and breathe in the presence of him that I sometimes feel when I look up at the sky.

I burst out crying last night, sort of out of the blue, but at the same time, typical.  After dinner last night, Sam and I were planning our trip to the Canyonlands (around the Moab area) for this weekend, and I was aware of something missing.  Something was missing, and at first I couldn't put my finger on it.....were we supposed to be doing something this weekend?  Was somebody supposed to come visit us?  (we've had, thankfully, lots of visitors this summer).  Did we have another commitment?  Or can we just leave for a four-day weekend and not look back?  And I suddenly realized that it was our SON we were missing.
Beau will not be in the car seat going with us on our camping trips, gurgling and making baby noises, pooping his diaper, and looking out the window at the beautiful views, and - just - being alive. 

I cried for a long time.  And I was so thankful that I have a loving husband to drop everything to hold me.  And I - again - found myself suddenly feeling extremely vulnerable.  I do that often; I am so acutely aware that just because the UNTHINKABLE happened when Beau died, I am not immune to further tragedy.  There is no guarantee that "she has been through enough".....other things can happen, other things HAVE happened to Baby Loss Mamas.  And I got so scared, and I cried some more.

Then this evening came, and I was making dinner (a traditional southern dinner, "red beans & rice" that we make often - I have learned how to make some purdy durn good cornbread....Sam's from Mississippi and I know he loves me a teeeeny bit more for that.  Heehee).  I put on a music mix that we put together for our rehearsal dinner, we had a traditional Fish Fry at my wonderful in-law's, the night before our wedding (over 3 years ago).  I was stirring the cornbread batter tonight, while our southern music mix was playing in the background, and I was thinking of how happy our wedding was, and my thoughts drifted to Beau.  Suddenly June Carter Cash's song came on, "Keep on the Sunny Side" and I felt like, through my sadness, it was playing just for me. 

There's a dark & a troubled side of life
There's a bright, there's a sunny side, too
Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us ev'ry day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

The storm and its fury broke today,
Crushing hopes that we cherish so dear;
Clouds and storms will, in time, pass away
The sun again will shine bright and clear.

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us ev'ry day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

Let us greet with the song of hope each day
Tho' the moment be cloudy or fair
Let us trust in our Saviour away
Who keepeth everyone in His care

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us ev'ry day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

I used to think of it as a super-happy song, but you know what?  I think it's a song of encouragement.
And then - you guessed it - I cried some more.  But through my tears of sorrow, alongside my tears of pain, I also cried some tears of gratefulness for my son to even bring his presence into my life.  I know that Beau would want me to be happy, would want us, his mommy and daddy to be the happy people that we are naturally.  And I'm trying to see that even though Beau graced us with his presence for only a short time, he provided us with so much happiness, so much LIFE, so much hope.  So I'm trying, Beau, I'm trying not to live my life as a devastated and defeated person, walking with my head down.  I'm trying to "keep on the sunny side" baby, because I know that's where you are!! 


p.s. a couple wedding pictures, just cuz I wanted to share.  May 12, 2007.  It was so much fun!!

Friday, October 1, 2010


My musical taste has been described as schizophrenic, and I think that's pretty accurate.  I listen to everything from Neil Diamond, to angry loud punk music (including Irish-punk), to the Beastie Boys, Karen Carpenter (So? at least I admit it), some jazz, indie rock, Indigo Girls, Johnny Cash, The Flaming Lips, 50's bubblegum oldies, the list goes on and on.......and if I've had a couple beers and 80's music starts playing on the dance floor, move over Elaine from Seinfeld, here I come! :)  There are some pop songs that play on the radio that I can get into, but for the most part, that's the only type of music I DON'T like.

And for some reason lately, I have been playing a Dolly Parton album and really appreciating the beauty of her voice.

I found this video on You Tube with Dolly and Norah Jones, and I love both their voices.  It's one of Dolly's songs about love and loss and how she had to think in terms of "opposites" in order to survive her new life without her love.  I love this performance because of the beauty of their music, and how they were able to illustrate the absurdity of a pain felt so deep.  I think of it as a metaphor for how quickly life can turn upside down. 

Here's a peek:


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Six Months.

My Dearest Beau,
It's been six months since I saw your beautiful, perfect face. It's been six long, painful months that your daddy and I have been coping with the loss of you. I've cried rivers of tears and I thought I would actually die of a broken heart.
But I know now, that no matter how many tears fall, and how much I wish (I have wished enough for the whole world!) it will not bring you back.
I would have traded everything, my whole life, everything I knew, for just five minutes with you. But we don't get that choice, do we little Beau?
Just recently I have noticed the hard edges of my jagged, torn-apart life have started to soften. And I have started to learn how to cope with this pain, with this loss of you. And I know now, that I must go on. If it means that I can keep loving you, I can go on.
I don't know why you had to leave us so soon, and I don't know why it had to be you. But, I do know for absolute certain, one thing: my love for you is greater than my pain. And my love for you grows every day.
I love you, my Beau. More than the sun shines, mommy loves you.