Sunday, January 24, 2010

"How many kids do you have?"

"So, how many kids do you have?'

Asked in casual conversation, harmless intent from the inquirer, but dangerous and painful words to parents who have lost a child.

My mind races. What do I say? What answer do I give? Do I say two and avoid a lengthy and emotional discussion, but feel guilty for leaving Everett out? Or do I offer three as my answer and risk giving too much information to the person who asked, or worse yet, risk breaking down and crying in front of a stranger? It's a situation that comes up over and over and causes a lot of emotional turmoil, and there's no right answer on how to deal with it. Sometimes I feel like explaining Everett, sometimes I feel like telling his story and making others aware of what we went through, what he went through. Sometimes I think answering honestly will serve a purpose that will make the pain I'll feel telling it worth while. And sometimes I don't. Sometimes I don't think its worth the explanation. Sometimes I just don't think the other person will "get it", or I don't think they'll care. Sometimes I can tell that the person asking doesn't really want to know, and sometimes I can tell that they wouldn't appreciate how significant it would be for me to tell them the truth and open my heart up like that to them. So, sometimes I say "I have three kids" and I tell them a sad story, and sometimes I say "two" and leave that conversation pretty swiftly.

Its my decision to make, and whatever I choose, there's no right or wrong. But making the decision to explain what we went through with Everett, and the decision to show our scars is a good thing. Its good to share our story and our son, and to show the world that people like us, parents like us, we exist. It also helps to tell people about your loss and your survival, to stand as a beacon of hope, to testify to the resiliency of the human spirit, to attest to what we can endure and make it through, and demonstrate just how great God's love is, and how much healing His comfort can bring.

Sometimes we give the easy answer to protect our hearts from hurt.

Sometimes we give the hard/true answer to teach something, to feel something, to share something, and to grow a little in faith.

Its okay either way. And I need to remind myself of that. Because I get asked everyday. And every day I answer differently.



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