Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday's Woe - What happens when you tell? ~Angie and Tommy Prince

Wednesday's Woe

What happens when you tell?

~Angie and Tommy Prince

What happens when you tell that your child has died? Does telling it get any easier? 

You make yourself vulnerable to the person who could really undo you. Or, you take the risk of making yourself vulnerable, then find you immediately become speechless to say what happened… 

I even find myself steering the questions away from family so that these kind of questions won't come up: 

How many children do you have? 

Or… Do you have any kids? 

Or… Where are your kids these days? 

I was at a party during the first few months of my grief (yes, I was still in shock, or I couldn't even have attended the party) due to a girlfriend of my daughter's being thrown a party by her family before she left to enter the marines. Someone I hardly knew asked, "How old are your kids?" I was not prepared for this question, so instinctively, I just immediately rattled off, "19, 21, and 23." Then she asked, "Where are they all now?" I had to think and rethink very quickly as I didn't want to say "Two in college, one in Heaven," to shock the poor woman to death at a festive party, so I just rattled off, "Oh, they're all away at college." (All of this had been true just a few months before, after all…)  She nosed her way in even further as I was beginning to realize she had heard, and she knew, but she was wanting to hear me say, "I have a child who died…" Number one, I didn't know this woman that well, and number two, I wasn't ready to deliver that heavy news at a party, so I just brushed her off, "Oh, they're scattered all over!" 

She must have really been surprised then when her husband (who knows me really well) walked up and began telling me how much trouble they were having with one of their sons, and I said to him, "I understand how painful that is," then assured him, "but at least you still have him with you!"

I long to tell, but I do think twice to myself: 

Do you really want to risk everything right here, right now? 

And does this person really want to know, or will what I say just depress them when all they wanted was a little small talk? 

Our lives have descended way below "small talk," all the way down into "death talk." Who is ready to have their lives shocked by our painful truths, especially when our own families can't even talk about or handle our pain. And yet… that is where we live... 

Picture, thanks to Grieving Mother, Jill Compton


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