distributing the weight

It is harder to write these days. We are spending a lot of time making preparations for Caemon’s service, and the rest of the time I just want to check out. There is no easy way through this pain, so we tend to take it a moment at a time, a breath at a time, hoping somehow it will pass or ease up. There is nothing easy about losing our son.

But the effort is there to ease the burden. Even in the week or two before Caemon died, people started coming around more to care for us. Our dear nurse friends would stop by on their days off to deliver food or care packages, even wine. They would bring coffee and tea when their shifts started in the morning. Family came in to love on us and to love on Caemon. All around us was support.

After he died, people stuck around. Our social worker friend took us to a room where we could receive grieving nurses and doctors and eventually family from out of town. People stuck by our sides, but they also stayed with Caemon. Two of our beloved nurses cleaned him up, removed tubes, and held his hands, while his child life specialist and social worker made crafts with him, taking footprints and handprints (oh how he hated getting paint on his hands–they knew this and joked with him, all the while making sure he was clean after each print). I had heard about this and had to see him one last time. To see him flanked by these beautiful nurses who were stroking his hands and loving on him while others so lovingly took his body through these rituals felt ancient and sacred.

And just as his body was surrounded in women tending to him, so were we. We were met at the house by family members and friends ready to receive us and feed us and hold us through the pain. Our fridge was filled with fresh food, someone else brought us tea, another brought alcohol. Our family and friends have spent nights at our home to fill it with more than the deafening quiet. They have coaxed us into the fresh air and sunlight and then allowed us to hide again behind the dark curtains.

Our mom friends keep coming bit by bit, bringing food or candles, warm hugs, mothering us. On one such visit, our friend told us that as she spoke with one of the other moms, they decided what they needed to do was distribute the weight, for this is too heavy for anyone to carry. And that is precisely what all these people are doing. They cry with us, they admire photos of our boy, they hear our stories over and over, they comfort us, they stroke our hair and hold us and rub our feet and hold our hands, and they try, try, try to take away bits of the pain. I suppose in those moments they do. They carry a little of this burden while they are here, and once we’re alone, we brace ourselves to shoulder it again.

Yesterday, Jodi and I went to BloodSource here in Santa Rosa (we plan to start donating blood and/or platelets in Caemon’s honor). We walked in and immediately the woman working recognized us and hugged us, offered us water and anything else we needed. Our neighbors have been bringing food. A sweet friend came by to mow the lawn and fix a few things around the house. People are coming together to create music and flowers and art for the service, and we’re seeing why it’s so important to have a community. We wanted to be celebrating our boy’s homecoming, his recovery, his life without cancer, so we gathered people around with those intentions only to find that we need everyone out there for something so much harder. But we’re glad you’re all here to share an ounce here, a pound there. I don’t know how we would make it through this without all of you.

28 thoughts on “distributing the weight

  1. How I wish I was there to do those things for you, to take some weight off of your shoulders even for a bit. But instead, I sit in my office across the country and cry. I’m heartened by the love that is surrounding you. Know mine is there as well.

  2. I can’t stop from crying reading this post. I am so happy to hear that you have this wonderful and supportive community around you at this difficult time. I wish I could help shoulder some of the weight for you, and I hope that by remembering Caemon and striving to become a better person just from knowing him from a distance, to donate blood and platelets more often will help ease the pain.

  3. my heart aches for you two so much. Reading this brought me right back to holding my son as his soul left his body. Fingerprints and handprints and bathing him… Each thing done with so much love and so much care. I cried all the way through your post, my heart is with you. Carrying some weight from all the way in New York. Donating in his honor is such a great thing to do. Caemon will continue to touch peoples lives through your donations. What a special thing for those recieving those platelets and blood.

  4. I’m here for you both, anytime, 24-7. If you need anything – a hug, some tea, a shoulder, a quiet space, a noisy space, art space, dog hugs, coffee, snax, you name it – you can call me, mssg me, txt me, show up at my door – I stay up late and if I can’t come to you with what you need, you are more than welcome to come to my place, anytime. If I’m at work, I’ll make the time. Community is what holds humanity together and I’m grateful to be a part of your community, anytime, during light times or dark.

  5. I am so thankful for the caretakers who have been able to carry some of the weight with you. You are caretakers too – helping each other through the grief and remembering your amazing kiddo.

  6. Oh, I wish we were closer so we could shoulder some more for you; I’m so thankful you both have this incredible support system around you. Know that there is a community near and far who love you and are here for you and and are sending you every bit of love we have to you and Jodi. You guys are the first people we think of when we wake up, and the last before we go to sleep. Sending you strength to get through each hour and day to come. xoxo

  7. Dear Moms,
    You don’t know me, but I’m a friend of Carol Allison’s. I have known of Caemon since she baked his first birthday cake. My heart aches for you. Thank you for the eloquent way you have shared your son with us. I am grateful there has been a community surrounding all three of you. I send love as well.

  8. crying here with you too… we would certainly be round if we lived nearer, for what it’s worth. so glad you have so many good people around you. sending love xx

  9. during your moments of quiet we pray your family feels the love of sooo many of us who although cannot be there send peace and strength for the days ahead. Caemon the Crocs love LIVES ON in the hearts of soooooooooo many of his precious army!!! HUGE HUG!!

  10. My heart breaks again as I sit here crying for you two, my own sweet boy, Caemon’s age, singing in the next room. I pray everyday for each of you to have the strength you need now and in the coming years. We’ve read your blog for a long time but have never posted. Just know that your family has been an inspiration to us and we send you much love.

  11. sharing the weight here, in spirit and in soul. I was heartened to read about all the support you are getting locally, how the nurses and other support staff were so kind and loving to you and Caemon and how he was cared during his illness and after he died. The world is so full of loving caring souls, and you two, and Caemon, and your posse of wonderful helpers are some of the many wonderful souls that keep everyone uplifted, even in such sad and awful times.
    Much love to you as you walk this path.

  12. Thank you for finding the space and strength to write to today. It relieves me to know you are surrounded by love and support. Count me among the many, many out here in cyberland who wish we could carry the weight with you in person. Hugs and love.

  13. Timaree, I only know you and your family through this blog and Facebook, but I feel like my family and I have personally suffered the loss of Caemon as well. I am grateful you have such a wonderful support system and wish I knew you personally to be able to offer more than just words. Every time I go to Green String Farm I think of you guys. We your community love you, support you and share in the loss of your sweet, sweet boy.

  14. I feel pulled. I want to know how you are coping, but the only way I can do that is by reading this blog and it turns me inside out. When I gather the courage to click the link, I get nervous, nervous that there might be an update, that you might have some more brave and revealing words that undoubtedly will leave a lump in my throat and bring the unmistakable feeling that I could vomit. Along with these sensations comes the tears, that blur the words, the words that I cannot bear to read, but I am compelled to. I let the tears drip with fury and begin reading the postings all over again so that I can absorb every word into my skin. I look back at the photographs of Caemon, stopping on his face for the longest time, staring into his eyes, memorizing every detail–so beautiful and innocent. I stare at his hands, imagining their softness, thinking about how they embraced yours and wishing I had a chance to hold him too. I remain heartbroken.

    It seems silly to feel this amount of grief for a boy that I only first fell in love with half a year ago and who I only know in photographs and videos, but I cannot help myself.

  15. Timaree and Jodi ~ I too am relieved that you have such a wonderful support group with you. Thank you so much for sharing your journey especially the caring ritual Caemon’s caregivers gave him. I am so saddened Caemon is gone from your earthly lives. I trust you can feel his spirit surrounding you. Much love and light and hugs, Jeanne

  16. Madeleine Villeneuve, my beloved granddaughter, slumbers in my arms as I read your latest post. I’m glad she rests unaware of Caemon’s passing, unaware of my tears falling on her precious head. Would that I could take away even a bit of your pain. I celebrate your family!

  17. I wish I could shelter you through the weight of this jounrey and the unmeasurable pain that you bear. You are constantly in my thoughts, my heart; I just wish there was more I could do. Thank you for continuing to share your path because so many of us are out of reach, but yet feel so close.

  18. Don’t know that I’ve commented before, but wanted to add to the chorus of support, as insufficient as it feels from so far with so little to give.

  19. Sending love today…lighting candles, sending light…keeping you all in my heart. Wish I could be there, but I’m there in spirit as are all of the people around the world whose lives your Caemon has touch. Hugs….

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