Tuesday, January 27, 2009

That Simple Question

It was a simple enough question, but as soon as it was asked I realized I didn't know how to answer it.

"How many children do you have?"


('How many children do I have? I have two... Jonasen and Andrew... They were twins... Why did I say 'were'... Well only one lived... Well, he was stillborn.... He was wrapped in cord...')


Did I really want to go there? Did I want to have this conversation with someone I didn't really know- someone who asked a simple question and probably expected a simple one-word answer? No.- and so I lied.


"One."


The second the word left my mouth I felt the air get sucked from my body and I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could. One simple word and it cut me- because I had lied. Why did I lie? I didn't have one child. I had two. If someone else said I had one child I hated it! And here I had done the same thing- answered that question the same way- I acted like he wasn't here. I didn't include him.


I felt sick, like I could throw up. That one word brought so much pain, so much guilt and I still can't believe I said it. I, his mother who loved him so very, very much, had denied his existence. When I had been telling everyone, everywhere about him- in this one simple question I felt like I had undone it all...


and I was ashamed.


I cried and cried asking for forgiveness. I knew in that moment that I never again in my lifetime would answer that question without including him. The problem was I didn't know how to answer it... One with legs and one with wings... One in heaven and one on earth.... One living. No matter how I sliced it, it left a question to the questioner and I wasn't sure I wanted to go into my heartache with this stranger who was probably just making small talk.


It took me a long time to find MY right answer to that question. That simple question always gives me pause but now I have an answer that works- an answer that works for me. By adding two simple words at the end of my answer it seems to be o.k. for me. I am not lying, I am not denying and whenever I answer that question they hear what they need and I hear what I need.


If you asked me that question today I would answer,

"I have three children at home."

as my heart would finish what my mouth didn't need to say

-and two in heaven.

3 comments:

  1. Oh Laura, my love...I will never forget my first HUGS meeting - I sat right next to you, wondering silently if you were pregnant under your little tshirt! Sure enough that was fiesty little Ali Jane in there. I know our contact has ebbed and flowed over the past four years, but I have always felt like we were walking on this journey together - you two steps in front of me, and me so thankful to have your footsteps to walk in. It is so beautiful to go back and reread the stories I remember so well and have been so thankful that you have shared with me. I love you babe...HUGS! Sarah

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  2. Thank you for this post...I have a child at home, and my twin girls in heaven. I was asked how many children I have last week, just 6 weeks after they were gone. When I answered, "one", because I couldnt answer anything else without crying, I immediately felt guilt, like I had betrayed my girls. They are my children too, even though I never got to take them home with me. Thank you for giving me a possible answer to what is currently a painful question.

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  3. Oh Laura, my love...I will never forget my first HUGS meeting - I sat right next to you, wondering silently if you were pregnant under your little tshirt! Sure enough that was fiesty little Ali Jane in there. I know our contact has ebbed and flowed over the past four years, but I have always felt like we were walking on this journey together - you two steps in front of me, and me so thankful to have your footsteps to walk in. It is so beautiful to go back and reread the stories I remember so well and have been so thankful that you have shared with me. I love you babe...HUGS! Sarah

    ReplyDelete

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