Uncomfortable Questions – Part II

by Kathy on July 14, 2008 · 1 comment

in Bob, Loss, Molly, Sean

Thank you for your support and kind words in reaction to my “So Close” post. I really appreciate you all listening, sharing your experiences and letting me know that what I am feeling is normal.

Bob, Sean and I spent this past weekend in Michigan at a family reunion for Bob’s side of the family. It was fun and relaxing, but it also felt a bit weird as it was one of the many events this summer that we “weren’t supposed to be able to attend.” This was because we were going to have a newborn baby at home and figured we wouldn’t feel up to traveling yet (if born “on time” and healthy, Molly would probably have been about 2-4 weeks old now). So that was bittersweet, however we were glad to be there overall and had a really nice time.

Early on during the reunion I was standing in the kitchen with my mother-in-law (MIL) and one of her older distant cousins. The woman said to my MIL, “So, how many grandchildren do you have now?” There was a very long pause and I could tell that my MIL, who has been both extremely supportive and very sensitive during our journey with Molly, was thinking about how to answer the question. She must have been aware that I was standing there listening and wasn’t quite sure what to say. Likewise, I was a bit anxious to hear what she would come up with. My MIL replied, “Five grandchildren. Well, almost six and one on the way.” I am not even sure that her cousin heard the “almost six” part of the answer, but she jumped on the “one on the way” part and they were off and running discussing Bob’s brother and our sister-in-law’s (SIL) baby that is due in early August.

They also talked about how Bob’s brother and our SIL already have a daughter, my MIL’s first grandaughter. MIL’s cousin was going on and on about how excited my MIL must have been to have that grandaughter. MIL didn’t try too hard to keep the discussion going and the conversation didn’t last much longer. There was no more talk about MIL’s other grandaughter (“almost six”), however I do know that MIL’s cousin is aware of Molly and what happened with our baby girl. She had sent us a thoughtful card after Molly was born and died.

Anyway, it was interesting for me to see how another person that I am close to in my life chose to handle an “uncomfortable question” that related to Molly’s existence. Though there is a part of me that wishes MIL hadn’t hesitated and answered, “I have six grandchildren and one on the way.” I definitely understand the follow up questions those words are inviting in from the person inquiring. For the same reason I have yet to answer “two” when asked how many children I have since Molly was born and died, I can’t expect my loved ones to act or respond any differently, if they aren’t comfortable doing so.

What struck me even more than the conversation about how many grandchildren my MIL has was what happened a few minutes later. My MIL found me in another room, came up to me and asked me if I was doing okay and gave me a hug. I was very impressed by her thoughtfulness and sensitivity to pick up on the possibility that overhearing the conversation she had with her cousin might have been difficult for me emotionally.

On a side note, I recently discovered Facebook, as I know many of you may have some time ago, and it is my new “addiction!” I am having so much fun reconnecting with old friends from many different times and experiences in my life. If you haven’t checked it out, I encourage you too http://www.facebook.com/, though I warn you it is a huge “time suck” as one of my friend’s refers to it.

I hope that you and your loved ones had a wonderful weekend and that your weeks are off to a good start!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Shiloh from CMoms July 18, 2008 at 4:57 am

Kathy, those questions are so hard. I just wanted to share that I know a woman whose grandbaby died from SIDS. When asked how many grandchildren she has, she pops off with “12 here on Earth, and one in heaven”. She’s not asking for sympathy, but she doesn’t want anyone to forget that precious baby. Hugs to you!

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