Answering the hard questions

Invariably the moment comes when you are at the grocery store or a restaurant or a meeting and you see someone you haven’t seen for a while who doesn’t know about the loss of your child.

You exchange pleasantries in hopes that the conversation doesn’t ‘go there’. But it’s never that easy. She asks ‘How are the kids?’ You can feel the thread being pulled as you start to unravel. I wish I had a solution for you that would whisk you away to a safe place where this conversation didn’t have to take place. But I don’t. I guess I would say not to sweat what you can’t control. It will happen and you will cry and you will go on. As hard as these encounters are, I’ve always been comforted afterwards by the sorrow shown and the caring felt.

Another situation that can be awkward if not difficult, is how to answer the question ‘How many children do you have?’ My answer is; ‘I have three kids’. I will always count Mason. End of story. The further question ‘What are their ages?’ demands a little more of you. I have found it’s best just to tell it like it is without offering too many details. I have a daughter who is………, a son who is………., and another son who died last year at the age of………. At this point the topic will most likely change. It’s not that you don’t want to talk about your child, but there is a time and place for that conversation. In addition, the knowledge of your loss may be a burden for some people and something they would rather you hadn’t shared.

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