Well I have some great news, I am embarking on a new job with a hospital closer to home, on second shift (no more sleepless night shifts). Although I am thoroughly excited to get started, and get to know my new co-workers, a change like this for a bereaved parent like myself can cause some “uncomfortable” conversations and questions at times. And not always uncomfortable for me as much as the other party. So, I don’t talk about this subject often, but I thought maybe this might be worth exploring.
The back story. In case you don’t know me and my family personally, or haven’t gone deep enough into the archive of this blog to know, I will explain. Five years ago our 15 year old son Logan, passed away after a 5 year battle with brain cancer. It was a terrible thing to go through, and I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t have lasting effects on all of us (me,my husband and our two other children), and we miss Logan dearly every single day.
That being the case I will be candid in saying that I love to talk about him. I miss him and talking about him makes me feel close to him still, like it all mattered as much I think it did. And that I can keep a little bit of him if only by telling a little story or remembering one of his special days. So if you do know us and something comes to mind please be free to mention it, I would love to hear any story you have to share! Truly! It means as much to us to know you all shared in that bright little light of a life as we did!
Now back to the New job scenario. Inevitably when you meet new people and are getting to know each other there are benign questions that seem to get asked. Where are you from? Are you married? And… Do you have any children? Or How many children do you have?? These last two are tricky. Not because I don’t want to answer them and share my life (clearly as I am writing this blog) but because my answer can cause a bit of a conversation stumbling block. It’s tricky do I say 2 because I have two living children, do I say 3 because I gave birth to 3, do I fragment the answer saying two that are still living and one in heaven. Do I change the semantics and say had vs have in my answer and hope they don’t notice so I don’t have to explain.
Well, here is my best answer to this. And it’s my answer, it may not be the answer another bereaved parent might choose. I think it all depends on where you are in the grieving process, how comfortable you are in talking about your cherished ones, and sometimes who you’re having the conversation with. But for me the answer is and will always be 3. I have 3 children. Two here with us on this earth and one blessed boy in heaven. I personally can’t make myself say two, and I don’t want to play word games. I’m choosing to be direct.
This answer will still cause some stumbling blocks but maybe my candor will open people up to normalizing the conversations about our loved ones who have passed so we don’t have to keep the memories quiet. I am bound to mention Logan on his birthday, or angel-versary, or when UofM is having a great football season (hopefully soon). And I don’t want the people around me to not know him through me. So I choose to have that conversation. I choose to accept the sympathies passed on to us as a result hopefully gracefully, and in some cases I will offer comfort to those who asked the question and weren’t quite prepared for the answer, and I will do so gladly because it means I don’t have to tip toe around the fact that I am the mother to an angel in heaven, and I can still be proud of him, and share his life with the people around me when I want to or maybe even need to.
If you are a bereaved parent, I hope you read this with a little relief. It’s ok to keep them alive through conversation and you can control the flow of that conversation at your own pace.
As for me I have THREE children. Jordon, Logan, and Brianna. ❤