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