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My second child and our first daughter, Camille, died and was born on June, 30 2011 when I was full term at 38 weeks pregnant. I gave birth to my rainbow baby, a second daughter, on August 31, 2012. This is me trying to figure out how to be a mother to my living son and daughter and function in society after our tragic loss.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Boy and My Girl

Last night Kai was laying in the bathtub, his ears were submerged and his soft blond hair was swaying gently in the water. His freckles seemed to stand out just a little more against the pale white of the tub. I remember as a child liking to hear my voice while my ears were underwater. Distorted and warm. All the words with softened curved edges. My son with his body thinning out at 2.5 years. Small but long, soft and perfect. Innocent and sweet. I wash his parts and I talk to him as he keeps his ears underwater. I smile at him. He looks at me and says:
Kai: "my brother died, Camille died."
Me: "who was Camille?"
Kai: "She is my sister."
Me: "Yes, she is your sister"
Kai: "I miss her, I miss Camille."
Me: "I miss her too."
Kai: "Talk about my swimming class."
 ...just a passing thought, spoken out by my little boy. These are my thoughts all day long. It is so nice to have them spoken out loud.

Today I received a photo of Camille's name written on Christian's Beach. I took Kai into the library and we sat in front of the computer and opened the picture and turned up the music. I started to cry. It really is very beautiful.
Kai: Look mama, look at the beautiful sunset."
Me: It is beautiful isn't it? It says "Camille" on the sand."
Kai pulls my chin to face him I know he is looking at my tears and searching my face for my emotion and expression...he says: "I love you" and gives me a kiss.
Me: "I love you too Kai"
Kai: "I want Camille back"
Me: "Me too buddy, me too" with more tears.

How is this little person so intuitive and sweet and loving? Can I help continue this kind of empathy and kindness as he grows into a man. I look at him and see my daughter, I look at him, my first born, my love and wish his sibling was here for him to shower with kisses and hugs. He is just that kind of child. I am so lucky to have him and so unlucky not to have Camille. How can this be? I have been missing her a lot lately. That sounds lame. I miss her a lot all the time. But I see the little girls in shopping carts all round and pudgy. I crane my neck to see their heads and faces when they are in the infant carriers. I know I tell myself it is normal, all people want to look at babies, it is true....it just makes my heart ache. I want to see her everywhere. I see her nowhere except when I look at my son. I imagine the snow blond hair and the smooth, white, soft skin. I imagine the smell of her head and the touch of her tiny hands. I am just missing. 4 months this weekend. It feel like a lifetime and yesterday all at once. I came across a doctor visit reminder note in my car for the 16th of June...14 days before Camille died. It wrenched at my heart, to know at that point she was alive, all was well. My baby was almost here. I am so grateful for my son. I wonder when I will feel anything but desperately sad when I think of Camille. She gifted me with a wonderful pregnancy, with anticipation and love, she gifted her brother and father with dreams of the eventual family we would be...the sadness of those dreams not coming to fruition trumps the 9 months of love I had with her. I find that strange but it is the missing that overpowers my heart.


  1. What a precious boy you have. I can't relate in the children department as I still have no living children of my own (except what will hopefully come from my belly in 2012). But I can say from my years of teaching and continued days in the classroom that children are incredibly intuitive. I prefer speaking with children and youth over adults on any given day. They do not shy away from emotion and want intensely to help you in time of despair. This is how I level with middle schoolers-- usually rough around the edges until you open up your heart to them. All of a sudden, you're real. They see themselves in you and can relate to pain or sadness that they themselves have endured. At least the rough ones can...

    As for the sadness, it bleeds red still for me. Yesterday was an extremely weepy day for me and as far as I know, I had no trigger. Just missing my boy so much at nearly 11 months out. Grief is so unpredictable and not at all cyclical. Thankfully the tears hurt a fraction less than they did at a month into this, but they will always hurt. I'll always have new tears to shed, it seems. Yesterday was a fresh well out of the blue.

  2. My heart hurts for you. Those first six months of missing were so intense, and you're in the thick of it now.

  3. I love this about kids, too. I'm so glad to have your lovely boy, and so sorry Camille wasn't able to stay. I'm hopeful one day the day will come where you can be happy to have "known" her, even if it wasn't how you thought it would happen, and certainly your time with her was all too short. But I have those moments where I am just thankful to have known him, though it breaks my heart all at the same time.

  4. Such a sweet boy. I look forward to telling my Little Kevie all about his big brother, so much so that Aiden could be his first word. I truly believe the siblings of our lost ones have an unbreakable bond. You are so lucky to have such an intuitive boy, so loving and thoughtful. xo

  5. Oh, sweet boy. I can really relate to this. How we dealt with Calla's death, I'm finding, was so different from everyone else, but E just really helped me so much in those early months. I would look at him and just feel so grateful for him, his little self.

    It is so hard, those chubby baby girls in the shopping carts and the carriers and just everywhere. Damn, it's so hard.

    Sending you love, mama.

  6. Your Kai has a gentle soul. My 2nd son is only 7 (well almost 8 if you ask him) and he talks of Braedon often. Somedays I want to discourage him because it adds to my sadness but I know it is good for them to talk about it and it is good for them to understand how important love is. I think just this experince will stay with them forever and they will become compassionate and caring men.
    I had one of those days where everything reminded me of him. This missing them so much, well it just hurts.
    I think since we are still in the early stage we can't imagine this pain lessening but I am really hoping that like so many others that have gone before us, we can find a day when it gets easier and there are more smiles then tears.
    Love to you,

  7. Renel, you have one seriously sweet and sensitive boy. I hope he is always that way.
    I wish that you still had your baby girl with you. Its just not fair.
    sending you lots of love. xo

  8. Heartbreaking to hear them talk about their dead siblings, isnt it? They should not have to know about such heavy stuff. Sloane will discuss it in passing like that too. She was 6wks from 2 when Hayes died so not as keenly aware as Kai is. But she knows. I love it and i hate it. She associates Hayes with sadness which kills me but she knows i cry about him so i dont know how to change that. I too hope for happy thoughts about our swret babies one day. Hugs.

  9. We are in the same boat here. Stella is talking about Margot every day. She wants to talk about her, see her ashes, look at the rocks we collect from Margot's memorial site...it's all so beautiful. Your son seems to have a gentle heart and what a gift it must be to have him around.

    The missing is what gets me the most too.

  10. Oh, I know. There's this big empty hole in our family that will never ever go away. Not just missing Elizabeth as a baby, but in a few years as a toddler, then as a kindergardener...someday we'll mark when she should have graduated high school and it will never end and the missing is just so overwhelming. I hear it gets better/more bearable but it's hard to believe.

    Kai sounds like a sweet sweet boy, and I hope his love for Camille gives you some comfort <3

  11. It's so desperately sad, yet lovely at the same time to hear how Kai talks of Camille.

    I know that you have hit a real low point recently... I was the same a few weeks ago... I have noticed that there are levels to the sadness - I'd like to be able to say 'ups and downs' but it's more like varying levels of down. So I hope that the pain eases a little soon.xx

  12. My 4 year old and I had a conversation very similar to yours last week. It seems so much more real when it comes out of their innocent mouths and it hurts that much more. I still associate nothing but sadness with Logan and the ache of missing my son is still overwhelming and I am 10 1/2 months out. I think part of this is because I never got any time with him alive.
    As many women have said on here the ups and downs are constant, but not as overwhelming as time moves on. I am so sorry your sweet Camille is not here for you and Kai. My living children are my life line and I am glad you are able to feel that with your sweet son as well. It is amazing how they know when we need a little extra love. I hope you find a little peace in the days that follow.

  13. The grocery store is the worst, if there's a boy and a girl in the cart I mentally consider how far apart they are, how they interact with each other. Would that be how G and Little T would be? It still breaks my heart.

  14. What a beautiful moment. Watching my daughter process grief, and understand loss has definitely helped me process Lucy's death. I get caught up in the tangle of losses, dissecting grief, and she will just say she misses having a sister, and that is it. That is all that is important. Sometimes we just miss. I'm catching up on blogs, so sorry this is a late comment. Sending you love as always, you beautiful soul.


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