I wondered when I would be asked this question.
And I’ve always wondered how I would answer.
It’s easy to say it on here. “I have 3 children. One here, two in heaven.”
But to a stranger? A person you don’t know? Out loud? How do you say that without making everyone in the room uncomfortable or feel like they need to walk on eggshells with you?
I remember feeling that way before I lost the twins. Someone would mention something about a loss and I’d freeze up. Not sure what to say, if they wanted to talk about it, not wanting to say the wrong thing. I’d take their cues and go from there but never really prod.
I was coming home from Blissdom this year, 10 weeks pregnant with the twins (having just found out a week before) and sat next to two amazing women who, although they may have never known this, changed my life and the way I’ve been able to process all this. Kim from Prairie Mama (who made the gorgeous robot dress for Bella) who lost her daughter Emma at 8 months and Sherry Carr-Smith of Paper Scissors Keyboard who lost her husband Mike at the age of 33.
I sat down next to Kim first and we were talking about how excited we were to get home and see our kids. She had her son with her, who was absolutely adorable, and told me that she had 5 children. Instantly I wanted to know their ages and she told me, pausing to say, “My oldest would have been 9.”
I felt my heart drop out, and that urge of trying to say the right thing while wondering what to say. But I didn’t have to, Kim simply talked about her in such a beautiful and open way that I knew how much to ask and was comfortable with it. I have never forgotten her story because of this.
Sherry sat down between us and part way through the flight mentioned her first husband. After a while of her and Kim chatting, I asked her if she was ok telling me how he died. She was crying as she told me, and my heart was breaking for her, but her story – every detail. So amazing. She just exuded strength and hope and grief all at the same time.
I sat there for that flight for a couple of hours in awe of these two incredible women. I had never been around people before that were so honest and open about their loss, and it made me wonder if I could do the same should my turn ever come?
2 months later it did.
I have thought about Kim and Sherry every day since losing the boys. And how their ability to tell me, a complete stranger who had never even fathomed what they had lived through, their personal journeys.
So today, I sat in a chair getting my hair done and the stylist was chatting away and said, “So your little girl, she’s your only child?”
I paused and the fear of making someone uncomfortable welled up. “Yes,” I said.
And then it hit me. A voice in my head screaming so loud, “NO, NO! You have two sons!” I couldn’t pass up this first chance, because I knew it would set the rest of my life and my ability to share their story out loud.
“Actually,” I said, “I was pregnant with twins but they were born at 20 weeks. They were identical boys. So three children.”
There. I did it.
And much to my surprise, she asked about it and told me how very sorry she was. I got to talk about them a little. It felt good. I didn’t cry, it hurt but it hurt in a good way. I got to talk about them. Just like I do about Bella. They are still here, still a part of my life.
I have 3 children. One here, two in heaven. And I’m not going to be afraid to say that anymore.