That dreaded question...
It happens all the time. You meet new people, you run into an old high school classmate, the stranger in line at the grocery store strikes up conversation, you meet other moms, etc... The point is we are constantly being asked the same generic "getting to know you" questions.
Now these questions are so generic that they should be the easiest questions in the world for you to answer. Something as simple as your name and your children's names, are you married, what you do for work, do have kids, etc.. you know what I mean. I hate these questions.
I have never been one to enjoy small talk but I could tolerate it. You chitchat for a minute, pretend to care what the other person is saying, promise to get together, exchange numbers and bolt. Easy peasy, right? Nope. Not for me. Not anymore. Small talk has become somewhat of a fear of mine since losing my infant son.
It happened to me recently when I ran into an old high school classmate. I usually try really hard to avoid these situations but there was no way of getting out of it because I came directly face to face with her. The conversation went something like this:
Classmate: Oh. My. God.. Hi!!. How are you? (oh boy)
Me: I'm great. You know busy, busy. (please get me out of here before she asks that dreaded question)
Classmate: Yeah, I heard you had...like a bunch of kids...right?
Me: Yep a bunch and I'm really busy. Good seeing you. (ok..so I lied I was just trying to get the heck outta there)
Classmate: So how many do you have now?
Me: How many what?
Classmate: Kids? How many kids do you have?
(Shit...there it is. The dreaded question...What do I say?...Do I tell her I have five? But then I'll have to explain about Rylan knowing how people tend to react....Or should just say I have four to avoid the awkwardness. But then I will feel guilty for not including him.)
Classmate is giving me the hairy eyeball because now an uncomfortable amount of time has passed and she knows just as I do this should be such an easy question, damn it.
Me: (I settle on my usual answer) I have five but one passed away so I have four at home.
Classmate: Oh wow. That sucks. (she is instantly wishing she hadn't asked) Well so....I'm sorry for your loss. (Now I'm wishing I had just said four to avoid this moment right here.)
Typically this is where I make some snarky joke about having a drinking problem or him being so well behaved it's like he's not even there, just to ease the awkwardness only making people more uncomfortable because honestly who jokes after announcing their baby died. Uh, besides me. Humor was the way we dealt with his death. But she said something about having to go, it was great seeing me and she was outta there quicker than I could say "Everything happens for a reason, right?" (which is one of the all time worst things you can say to a grieving parent, and yes we've heard it from people) So there I stood there for a few moments wondering, why is it so difficult for people to accept death as they would accept life? I don't see people running for the door the second I say I had another baby.
I know a lot of Angel parents feel the same way as I do. We only hesitate to answer "that dreaded question" for your sake not ours. We don't mind talking about our babies. In fact we want to acknowledge our babies life. So don't be afraid to ask us about our little ones, don't be afraid to hear our story. Maybe then "that dreaded question" can turn into a wonderful opportunity for us to share their life and for everyone to cherish the memory of a child gone way to soon.