Joseph John Casady
I will never know you. I do know that you existed. I know that you were formed with a beating heart because we got to see that tiny thing beating at five weeks along. You were there and you were alive. And then something happened, and your heart stopped and you were no longer living. Created, lived and died within 10 and a half weeks.
My heart longs to have known you, held you, squished your cheeks, smelled your newborn head, counted your fingers and toes. To watch you grow, see who you looked like, and discover your individual quirks. That's so hard for a mother to be given a "glimpse" of having another child, and then have it taken away.
I will never forget the feeling I had when I found out I was pregnant with you. I felt like I had won the lottery! "Pinch me, this can't be true!" was all I could think. Evelyn was only 7 months old when we conceived you, the closest in age by far. I could not believe that I was given another chance at having a child. After each baby has been born, I always have this feeling like "what if this is the last one? what if I never get to do this again?" But here I was, pregnant, and I was so very happy.
I think that you changed your father the most. When he first learned we were expecting again, and so soon, I think he was shocked and nervous. I know he was thinking about making sure he could fulfill his role as provider for our family. Very quickly though, as we shared our news with friends and family, I could see him being excited about you, our fifth child. I loved to hear him tell people that we have four children and one on the way. In fact, we went to Lazlos for a dinner party he was hosting for his employees at the bank, on the night when Dr. McNeely first couldn't find your heart beat. My 33rd birthday. I really didn't think much of it though as he said that we were probably just one week too early to hear it. Anyways, at that dinner, I watched your papa, holding Evelyn and walking around to all of his friends and employees. I watched him tell everyone how we were having our fifth child, and he was so happy, a proud papa indeed. I very vividly remember that.
I am thankful every day that we were able to see you Joseph. Seeing you has helped to heal me. I know that was a gift from God. I got to hold your tiny 2 inch body in the palm of my hand. I'm so grateful that TJ was here at home with me, and that it happened during the night so we could be together.
How could you be so perfectly formed at only 10 weeks? I think of this daily. What struck me the most was how your little hands were tucked up under your chin. I have so many pictures of each of our newborns in that same position. And there are five fingers, yes, I counted them! Your little open mouth....always makes me think that you are smiling at me. I can see the faint beginnings of ears, your nose, the dark beginnings of eyes, your umbilical cord....it's all there.
I got to hold a newborn this past week. In the hospital, no less. I love going to the hospital to see and smell a new baby. I just looked and looked at the child in my arms and couldn't stop thinking of you. I would be 6 months pregnant now. I know it will be difficult when August comes, August 11th to be exact. The day you were "expected" to arrive. I know that I will be sad all over again, and long for you. I don't think that will ever change.
I am grateful that you will always be our fifth child. Every week when we drive past the cemetery where we buried you, the kids say, "we love you Joseph." And after a few second delay comes George's sweet voice...."we love you Joseph." We showed the children your picture for the first time this past Mother's Day. After Mass, we went to your grave and took a picture there, me with ALL of my children. When we got home, papa and I felt like it was the right time to show you to Thomas, Annie and George. Papa and I had been nervous to show them. I didn't want them to think it was gross, or a scary thing seeing you. When we gave them your picture, they just looked and looked at you. We showed them all your parts, just like we would have if they all came up to the hospital to see you for the first time. Thomas wondered where your hair was.
Your short life has changed mine. I look at life with a fresh perspective thanks to you. I try to see the beauty that life has to offer, especially in the midst of our sufferings and trials. I am reminded that God has a plan and a path for us- and that no matter how hard it is, I want to follow His, not mine. Thank you for interceding for us up in heaven. I know you will watch over and protect your siblings as they grow. They will need that. I will find comfort in that.
I love you little one.