I’ve been having a really tough week. I think about how Caroline should be 8 months old. She should be crawling. She should be cooing and babbling. She should still be in my arms. Last week, she should have been sticking her fingers in mashed potatoes and getting them all over the floor.
Should-be, should-be, should-be.
I think it is so normal to have these thoughts. Every second of every day I am thinking about and missing Caroline. I will always wonder who she would have been had she stayed here on earth.
However, the reality is that my should-be thoughts are a fantasy. As much as I wish that she were still here, I think God had a plan. As much as I don’t understand it, I think that Caroline was destined to return to heaven early. Maybe she even knew. She was so, so brave. I think to myself, Caroline should be here with me. What if that is so painfully untrue? Am I unable to see the big picture, that Caroline is happy and pain-free in heaven and we will be together again soon for eternity?
At her funeral, I said that she accomplished more in 58 days than some people do in 58 years, and I still believe that to be true. She showed me the biggest love that I have ever known. Because of her, I am such a different and better person. I’ve always shied away from feelings and all things touchy-feely, but now they don’t make me uncomfortable. In fact, I’m now a feeling seeker and hope to help other families through this devastating diagnosis. My husband and I have organized a toy drive in Caroline’s name, which we never would have done on our own. We’ve noticed that members of our family no longer sweat the small stuff because Caroline reminded them of what was important. Who knows how many more lives Caroline has touched or will touch in the future.
I am heartbroken, but Caroline is worth the heartbreak. I am here to make sure that the work she started is finished.
Although I will always keep track of how old Caroline would have been and wonder as I see children her “age” what could have been, I will try to turn my thoughts away from the should-be’s. I wish things could have been different and I could still be taking care of her. The thing is, when you’re the mom of an angel, you are still taking care of your baby. It’s in a way that you never expected or wanted, but holding your child in your heart and helping people through your child’s memory is a labor of love. This is how I mother Caroline Grace.