Do you have any children?
A simple question isn’t it? It used to be. We get asked this question quite frequently when we are out and socializing with people who obviously don’t know us. It used to be a very simple answer and yet that changed about nine years ago when my only child Laura passed away.
Initially I somehow managed to avoid conversations that led anyone to ask me about children. Later when I was comfortable in talking about what happened I used to say that my daughter passed away without really answering the question. I didn’t know how to answer it. I still felt like a dad. I still felt like my daughter was around even though she physically wasn’t with me. Then I would see the reactions of people when they heard that my daughter passed away and they felt bad for asking which somehow just made it worse. That just prompted more questions about how it happened, something I was not willing to talk about initially.
It isn’t an easy answer because so much goes through my mind and all of it in split seconds.
Do you have children? Here’s my conversation with myself;
Should I say no?
Should I say yes? Well then where is she? Then what?
Am I denying her existence by saying no?
Am I not honoring her by saying that I don’t have children?
Why doesn’t someone my age not have kids? Can’t have them? Why not?
So my simple answer is no, we don’t have children. I know in my heart that I honor Laura in every way imaginable. She is a part of my life in so many ways. Not having her here is sad and as much as I miss her, I know that she has changed my life forever. Writing about her in my blog makes a difference in a small way so that everyone can know what a precious and amazing daughter my Laura is. Hopefully if there are other parents out there that have suffered through the loss of a child, perhaps they can know by reading this blog that they are not alone in how they feel.
Categories: Life, Personal Motivational
I see your dilemma. I have heard others asked this question, and seen the reaction around them, just as you described. “Oh, wish I hadn’t asked”, etc. I have also seen people who responded “Yes, she has passed away, but she is still with me”. Admittedly, I have only heard women use this explanation, but it puts others at ease, and allows honoring of the child. FYI, I rarely ask, unless someone asks me, just as I don’t ask if someone is married unless they ask me. And I NEVER ask when the baby is due, unless I KNOW they are pregnant!
Thank you Cheryl. I appreciate your comments and sharing.
such a beautiful and heartfelt entry. Thank you so much for sharing. I completely concur that your feelings of honoring your daughter by saying “NO” are not in question, because they are completely personal between you and her memory and your family. People don’t always have to be invited into your deepest personal life, and certainly not if it is unwanted by you.
What a wonderful father you are! I am honored to have read your post.
Thank you Cheryl. I love the feedback. Blessing to you all.
Thank you for your sweet and heartfelt post. I get the question, “Are you married?” all the time. It makes me relive a time when the most amazing person entered my life and then had to leave it when cancer took him a tiny bit at a time.
No, we never married because he thought it would leave me with less to deal with after he was gone. But I sometimes feel compelled to share in order to explain why I am not married.
But my memories are my own and no, I am not married is enough for everyone without my heart included each time I answer that question.
I will feel love and loved for the rest of my life.
Wow, what a thoughtful, heartfelt posting. I believe that blogs provide a platform for the exploration of our deepest feelings and experiences that no other form of community has in recent times.
Thank you for sharing, and inspiring others of us, particularly those who have suffered some losses to revisit our emotions and share in yours.
I saw your daughters photos on your FB page today… thank you for being in my cyberworld, and sharing your journey with us.
Thank you for sharing this blog with us, Frank. Your words are comforting and there’s much I can relate to with the questions. Sometimes it all becomes a very complicated mix of emotions and the guilt is one of the really hard things to deal with as a parent who has lost a child. It has been a little over a year for me and feel like I’m still trying to comprehend everything that has happened. Thank you again for your words and your openness.