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September 2015

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He’s not coming home…

 

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Next to giving my son’s lifeless body CPR and giving him my own breath, the second most difficult thing I’ve had to endure was to call my wife from the emergency room at Lehigh Valley Hospital to tell her that our son would not be coming home. From the moment desperate screaming started after my son Elijah found Caleb motionless in the pond, I still had hope. While running full speed to take my son in my arms to start CPR, I still had hope. With every chest compression and breath I gave to my son, I still had hope he would return to me. While giving stern instructions to my wife to call 911, I still had hope. From the first cry for prayer on social media by my wife, I still had hope. As the prayers and support started rolling in, I still had hope. When the ambulance arrived, I still had hope. On the ride to the hospital, I still had hope. My pleading to God increasing with every mile, I had hope God would hear my cry.  Caleb was in good hands, trained professionals and I still had hope. Arriving at the hospital and rushing into the emergency room with Caleb a fierce and well prepared team of ER doctors and support staff were taking control and I had hope. I continued pleading to God as time stood still, I still had hope. Sitting in the ER room with lots of organized chaos all around me I still had hope Caleb would come back to me.

An eerie quiet fell over the ER room and I quickly began to realize Caleb was not coming home. The ER doctors were not able to intervene or to reverse God’s will. The prayers of many faithful failed to change what was predestined to occur at that very time, the very moment that God had preordained before the foundations of the earth. Reality and the raw truth of the moment had consumed me completely. God said, “No” and time and space seemed to stop as I had only one focus. My wife was home in prayer with many other people from as far and wide as social media would take and as fast as word could travel. A lot of people still had hope and faith that God would intervene in that very moment however I and the people in the ER room were the first to know the grave news and now I was the first to pass through this door with no return. This door I had past through left hope behind as a carcass on the ground of life. New reality crushing me from every direction. No way to go back the other way and one by one, others too would have to pass through this same door as they came to know that Caleb went to be with the Lord. It was his time (Psalm 139:16)

Time stopped and reality continued to punch me over and over in the gut as I had to call my wife. From every button pressed on the phone to the ringing I heard in my ear, I can recall every moment as vividly as that day. My anxious wife distraught with stress answered the phone awaiting my call. You see my wife still had hope… She was eagerly waiting for good news from me as she hadn’t yet passed through the door. When I heard my precious wife’s voice all I could say was, “Caleb’s not coming home Tiffany”. To share this news with my wife was to crush her spirit. There was no way around the door. No way to reverse reality and with that my wife fell to the floor in uncontrollable sobbing. All I could do was listen on the other end of the phone to her desperate cries and suffering as she joined me in horrid misery and untamed anguish.

As the one year anniversary of my son’s death is upon me, I’ve spent time in reflection of that day today and that door I had to pass through from one world to another. Literally where my life changed in an instant then to where I am today. In those first fiery hours where I spent time in shock and anger trying to make sense of it all and shaking my fist at God in my pride and disbelief. This last year as been a journey. Though I have gained mental strength and fortitude, I am still weak. Driven… yet restrained. Moving forward yet stuck. Full of faith yet numb. As this write and this moment in time is just that… a moment. This blog post is me processing the last few hours of my day and most of what I am writing now is what I thought of just on my way home from work. I have up and I have downs. If you read my last post you can tell I am in a different place. I try not to put too much weight on the one year anniversary and I feel just like Caleb’s birthday, the days leading up to that day were more difficult than the day itself.

(break – few hours – couples bible study tonight at Rocky Mountain Calvary)

My wife and I have been intentional about meeting people here in Colorado at our new church and we are making some great new connections. Tonight I was able to briefly share my story to two couples and it felt good to express where I am at and where God has brought us. The one couple who had eight children asked if anything good came from it. I had to reflect a bit because being so close to the anniversary I’m left in a place where I am more focused on the tragedy of that day and the trauma we went through vs God’s plan so it’s all very real and a bit raw. I spend quite a bit of time reflecting on my life and where I am and where God has brought me to. As I’ve expressed in previous blogs my life and who I am is not about me. Everything is for God’s glory and it’s easy to lose site of that. I am truly blessed and God continues to bless my family I feel because of our faithfulness.

This journey is really just beginning when I consider eternity. This very moment is extremely small as hard as it is I look forward to seeing Caleb again. I’m not sure what that will be like. A lot of things in life seem really small compared to what I have been through. So there is so much flowing through me in all of this. I am truly growing spiritually. Through the first half of this blog was a moment in time, I took a break and and I am in a different place. It’s remarkable. I just need to keep looking up and pressing on. I’m not sure if I will post on the anniversary of Caleb’s passing. I was considering just continuing this post in draft and post it 10/14/15 but I feel led just to post where I am at and where I was just in the last few hours. This post is just processing the upcoming anniversary approaching fast. Know that I am well and my family and I continue to covet your prayers. The next few weeks will be extra challenging as it’s hard not to focus on losing Caleb who was/is incredibly precious to us. God’s will, not mine be done. Caleb is not coming home…No, he is home. Home with God who created him. Until we meet again little buddy! New hope.

Author: Andrew Dubas

 

reminder: I am not a professional writer. I write to express my emotions the best I can as it relates to losing my son and the battles I face and win lose because of it. So please excuse typos, grammar and other structure issues and that I bounce around a lot. This is really for me more than you but I know people visit this site for various reasons. In fact, since this site went up, the stats show 16k+ unique visitors. I just pray Caleb’s short life and my experience can help another family or parent get through their own struggles as there is hope after losing a child and yes it’s difficult but I promise you I would not be where I am had it not been for God in my life and my faith in Jesus Christ my Lord and savior. 🙂

Instead of fighting God, press in.

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I MISS YOU CALEB ANDREW DUBAS. REST IN PEACE MY SON.

Uncategorized

Different Place…

Eleven months and ten days since Caleb Andrew Dubas has passed away and I am in a different place. Every day I go to work, I see the majestic rocky mountains and nearly every evening I watch the sunset as I walk around my new neighborhood. There’s certainly something to be said about physically relocating after a child’s death. While in Pennsylvania, at the same home where Caleb died in our backyard pond, I had constant reminders of that day. Every time I walked outside, I had gut wrenching reminders and flashbacks of what happened. From walking paths where I would walk with Caleb on my back in his little blue backpack to every square inch of that house that he loved to explore. That house was all Caleb knew in his 18 months of life. We had some great family memories there and even though I prefer to dwell on those good memories, living there brought the evil of that day to the front of the line in my minds eye making it extremely difficult.

In the first few months after Caleb past, I was trying my best to survive and get through each day one at a time. In some ways I tried my best to shut Caleb out of my mind all together because of the pain. The good memories just reminded me of what could never be again as they always brought me back to his last day. Pictures, video, physical location triggers, smells and the list goes on as they all would equal pain. To this day I have every video I took of Caleb from my phone on my phone. I am now at a point in my journey were I can take a glimpse but just about 1 year out, I am still tiptoeing my way around a very delicate situation on how to manage that pain. I never really know how I might react or feel. Certain memories are very good but all I have to do is hear an ambulance in the distance or see standing water and I am right back to that day. Sure, those triggers and thoughts I can manage by not dwelling on the event that each trigger takes me to by quickly moving to another thought, however the temptation to wallow in the mud is very real. I can go to dark places when that happens and it’s not a good place to be.

God opened doors for our move to Colorado and I  am glad I went through that door. Being somewhere completely different has been a huge blessing and a lot of healing has taken place in the couple months since we’ve been here. I won’t say its all been fun and games as our family is back home along with our support system but for me to reflect back over these last months in Colorado Springs vs any day back in our old home, I will take this a hundred times over as I don’t have those mental triggers and it’s allowed me to move on in a different way. The lows are not as low, the triggers are short lived and I can finally start to see Caleb’s image in photo and video in moderation. The shear intensity is much lower than the first few months and I imagine time will continue to heal. I feel I am healing in a sense but I am in a different place. Different physically, spiritually and emotionally. I have to live for my family now and their future. We are all on this journey together… forever changed. We are rapidly building new memories and inviting new opportunities to share our experience with others.

I often wondered what God’s plan in all of this and I think of the grand things while missing some small very neat things that have occurred even recently. My wife joined this Facebook group for parents who have lost children and she shared her story and pointed them to this blog. Initially this blog was a place where I could pour out my raw emotion in a very selfish way because writing about my emotions was easier to do than in person. I still find it hard to express in words my every day life and what I feel. There really isn’t a way to truly understand what losing a child is like until you lose a child let alone translate an extreme feeling into finite words that do little to convey what they really mean. I think though sharing my story might give hope to someone who is just starting their journey down a road no one wants to travel. my faith in God and his plan for my life is what drives me into each day. I know that from this tragedy that God will be glorified and good will come from it. God is my rock and my salvation, my refuge and strength. Some days are still very hard by all in all I am in a different place. Different because I can never be the same as I was before Caleb passed.

I can grow and learn and help others but there is still this place where I find myself a little numb to life. It hasn’t been quite a year since Caleb past and I know I have a long way to go. This road was really rocky in the beginning with lots of potholes. I often would end up in a ditch on the side of the road but it has since smoothed out a bit. I still hit bumps and each day has enough trouble of it’s own but it’s certainly nice to drive down this road and look out the window and see the rocky mountains and all the glory of their creator looking back at me. There is a peace I find here in Colorado. I know God brought me here for a reason and I keep looking up. I’m here waiting on you Lord. Show me the way!

I get glimpses of life after losing a child and yea its different, but it’s not all bad. The bond with my wife is getting stronger and my other children are growing up strong. We will fight to live another day because it’s one day closer to glory and one day closer to Caleb. This life I live is not for me but for God who created me. All of my life is for His glory and Caleb was for his glory. Caleb Andrew Dubas was truly a blessing. I miss him with all my heart and I cherish every moment I had with him. I did my best to save him but God has another plan. I am ready for that plan and I will keep looking up.

I am in a different place… and it’s not that bad. I’m still not sure what to make of this “different” but compared to where I was when I started this journey, I will take THIS over THAT since I can’t change the past. I can only affect NOW and here is where I belong… seeing what tomorrow brings while living for today.  I miss you Caleb Andrew Dubas!

Author: Andrew Dubas

 

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