Friday, February 12, 2010

"At home"

I am a teacher.
When I came back to work after having my boys.
Having one-
Losing the other-
I expected the questions.
They came-
I answered-
And if felt right.

The next year as I introduced myself to a room full of excited second graders, I told them a bit about myself adding that I had a husband, two dogs, and a little boy at home.

Some how adding the 'at home' after I mentioned any living children seemed to be o.k. and no one really ever picked up on those two little words. I felt better for saying them and unsuspecting people sure felt better that I didn't have to put them in the awkward position of telling them the 'whole' story- that I had one at home and one in heaven.

As I told my students my story, one little girl rose her hand and said, "Yes- you have a little boy and you had another boy who died."

I was shocked that she knew- had remembered- perhaps heard from an older sibling- a neighbor-

"Yes. Yes I did."

And then the next question came.

"What was his name?"

"Andrew."

And another.

"Did it make you sad?"

"Very."

And that was where their questions ended about my son- and turned to my two dogs at home- a much more enjoyable topic for children who perhaps longed to have a pet of their own.

I thought about it- the questions hung in the air- but for them they seemed to evaporate- and so eventually I let those questions go- I kept the warmth from their memory- but I let them go- evaporate-

Until I heard from my principal- parents were mad- I was talking about my 'dead son'- parents were angry- and they wanted to confront me.

I was mortified. I didn't know what to do. I was not in the place I am now- I wasn't ready to talk about him and certainly not in front of a large group of people- what if I cried- I knew I would cry...

My story- a story that will forever impact my living children- that yes- babies do die- was now influencing these children, and I felt horrible for it- and even more horrible that the parents in that classroom would think that I would share such sorrow with their children. Share a piece of heartache with them intentionally. Suddenly those innocent questions- that innocent moment was forever tainted- tainted with some horrible connotation- with the shadow of death- and all that was bad- when really for me- in that moment- it felt healing- they remembered- they cared...

The parents never did confront me. I beat them to it. I sent a letter home explaining what had happened- the exact exchange that happened in the classroom and I apologized. I apologized for losing my son- and for their children to know my story-

It makes me angry now-

Six years later, my students don't know of Andrew- or even Baby "E" (Perhaps she had her appendix out...) They know that I love butterflies- especially the blue ones. They know that I have a fondness for heaven and they know that I have a husband, two dogs and four children "at home".

And that is where it ends.
And that is o.k.

So recently when one of my students found my family blog, with a link to these moments, I froze- and that moment so long ago came rushing back- though now six years later- more secure in my reality I know I would never apologize- not for two of the biggest blessings in my life that are no longer 'at home' but remain even closer- forever living in my heart.

I have been quite careful on here to not mention the blessings that I have "at home," though I know that many of you have read about those blessings on my other blog. Because that blog is no longer found through a search, if you would like to still read about those days- please send me an email or leave me a comment and I will send you the new address.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for seeing me for the mother I am. The mother of six. Six in my heart.

Hugs-
Laura

18 comments:

  1. my dear, dear friend, i hope this comes across the way i want it to, because all i kept thinking as i read this was....YOU GO, GIRL!!!
    <3 you!

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  2. I would love to keep reading you.
    dpucci9972@gmail.com

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  3. Again another one of your stories straight from your heart Laura. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could write my thoughts like you do. :)
    Ronda

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  4. (Sigh) Life is so unfair. But this is earth, not Heaven. I'm glad you're done apologizing. I'm glad you've found that place of peace that many of us who have lost children have found. And I love that you use the phrase "at home."

    Much love,
    Kelly, mother of 7, with 3 at home

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  6. I am so sorry the parents were so insecure about the realities of life that they couldn't see that your reaction to the kids questions was normal and theirs was emotionally stunted.

    I think the progessional personal divide is a big one and a real stress in times of grief. As someone in fulltime Christian ministry I spent the year after Abigail died having awkward conversations started by innocent questions "oh you must have a new baby" or "how many children do you have?", I never felt happy with how these conversations ended up and sometimes massively offended that Christians could be so insensitive. And then a year on I came to people who couldn't even remember the news I had told them a year before.

    I am glad you have 6 children (wow) and pray you know much peace and healing.

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  7. Laura,
    My heart sunk when I read what you had to go thru, having to feel confronted by angry parents...how terrible they had to say they were "angry"...why not "they needed to discuss what happened", people can be so harsh - screw them! Im so sorry you felt compelled to apologize. I probably would have done the same though. May you feel at peace with the 6 in your heart always xxoo
    Please send me the address, nancyhaigh@yahoo.com
    (((HUGS)))

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  8. Wow, Laura. I don't even know what I would have done in your shoes. It is so unfair that you had to apologize and you didn't do anything wrong. I love how you said that your two biggest blessings live forever in your heart. So beautiful. I would love to follow your other blog. handprintsfromheaven@gmail.com

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  9. I am so sorry that your heartwarming memory was tainted that way. I dont think we should ever have to apologize for sharing our angels stories. It wasnt like you shared anything controversial just the fact that you have a son who passed, geeze that is so crazy that it created such an issue with those parents! I'd like to follow your other blog as well, jenn_624@hotmail.com

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  10. Oh Laura. Those parents made me angry too. You only answered an innocent question from a child and told the truth. What on earth is wrong with that? Nothing in the world. What would they have had you do?
    It was very kind of you to write that letter but you should never have been put in that position. Sigh. x

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  11. P.S. stop by my blog, there is a suprise there for you in honor of Andrew! Happy Valentines!

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  12. What a heartfelt story. As a future teacher it was really great to be able to read your response to questions from your students about the death of your son. You handled it quite gracefully, and respectfully. Thank you for sharing this.

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  13. Hi Laura! What a beautiful post. I look forward to reading more! I saw your comment on my blog design site and wanted to answer your question about your blog button. Yes you have to alter all brackets not just the ones around the blog address. I hope that helps. If you can't get it to work email me and I'll be happy to help.

    jenieshell@gmail.com

    btw I too I am a teacher!! ;)

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  14. Laura- just came over from eLIMBO. I started reading this story and thought how nice it was for your students to give you the chance to talk about your angels. Kids are so much more honest and fearless than most adults. I was so disappointed to hear how your story ended though and it was something you were made to feel guilty for.
    Glad to have found your blog and read about all 6 of your children.

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  15. Children are innocent with their questions and it makes me upset the way the parents tried to blame you. You shouldn't have even had to write a letter. I'd like your addy for your blog caring4carleigh@yahoo.com

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  16. Hi Laura! What a beautiful post. I look forward to reading more! I saw your comment on my blog design site and wanted to answer your question about your blog button. Yes you have to alter all brackets not just the ones around the blog address. I hope that helps. If you can't get it to work email me and I'll be happy to help.

    jenieshell@gmail.com

    btw I too I am a teacher!! ;)

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  17. Oh Laura. Those parents made me angry too. You only answered an innocent question from a child and told the truth. What on earth is wrong with that? Nothing in the world. What would they have had you do?
    It was very kind of you to write that letter but you should never have been put in that position. Sigh. x

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  18. Wow, Laura. I don't even know what I would have done in your shoes. It is so unfair that you had to apologize and you didn't do anything wrong. I love how you said that your two biggest blessings live forever in your heart. So beautiful. I would love to follow your other blog. handprintsfromheaven@gmail.com

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