Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Today I come across the toughest question the parent of a deceased child can face: "Do you have children?" The question is asked innocently enough, and comes with an expectant smile. I have been warned to expect the question, have been prepared with an answer, but when the question comes I am stunned, speechless. Do I? Do I have a child? I did. I had a lovely boy whom I adored beyond words. The prepared words fly out of my head and I have no idea how to respond. "I had a son, but he passed away recently," I finally say after an awkward silence. The smile fades, there is some embarrassed stuttering and conversation turns away from me. I am left alone.

My grief counselor and support group tell me there is no right or wrong answer. "Just say whatever feels right, comfortable." But nothing about this will ever feel right or comfortable and I am afraid I will forever be the subject of awkward silences and embarrassed stuttering. Suddenly I am so tired that all I want to do is curl up in a corner. But I can't. I have a meeting. I have to work, or I won't eat. And I do need to keep busy. I know if I lie down in that corner I will never get up on my own. So I gather all my will power, turn around, and walk down the hall to the conference room.

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