Today's post is from a brave and generous blogger, Maureen Hunter. Maureen is grieving the loss of her son, Stuart. She writes with heartbreaking honesty about her pain, but also shares where she finds hope and comfort. Her site is full of excellent tips and resources. An oasis for any parent with empty arms. Thank you, Maureen. For the work you are doing and your friendship! -Alicia
One question that instills horror and paralysis into the heart of any grieving mother is, “How many children do you have?” It seems such an innocent question to many, bandied about in general conversation and one that we ourselves would have asked countless times, but everything is different now and I don’t know about you but I want an easier question. I had thought about how I would answer that for the first time after Stuart died, I had it all sorted in my mind, how it would happen, what I would say…..but the reality was far from my imaginings.
One night I got something in my eye, it wouldn’t budge. With eyes streaming and one eye half shut I had to go to the local hospital for after hour’s treatment. I had been there only 3 weeks previous, in the very same room, when my son was taken there initially after his accident. I remembered everything but I was stoical, I was coping. But then, the nurse, whilst ‘fixing’ my eye said, “How many children do you have?” Instantly my eyes welled up with tears and I became totally speechless. This was the first time anyone had asked me that since Stuart died and I couldn’t respond, no words would come out and I was totally overwhelmed with the impact the question had on my very being.
It’s happened so many times since then and now I have a bit of a repertoire up my sleeve. Circumstances dictate what I will say, whether I play it safe and say “I have 3 children” or whether I tell the whole story and elaborate. It all depends on who’s asking, the relationship I have with them and the social situation I am in. It also depends on how I feel emotionally. Sometimes I don’t have the inner strength to go into details, to add that little bit more, so I keep it brief for my own sake. That’s just how it is. But for me, its always 3, I have 3 children, always have and always will have.