How Many Children Do You Have?

How many children do you have? Do you have any children? Two common questions that often come up in conversations. Until 4 years ago, I didn’t realise how heart wrenching those questions could be.

Now, I know that those two questions can be the most difficult for someone who has lost their son or daughter. Many bereaved parents don’t know how to answer those questions, especially the first time that they are asked them. They are worried that they will get upset saying they ...answer and they are worried about how their answer will make the other person feel.

Many people ask me what my answer to those questions are and my answer is simple, “I had a son but he died”
That answer can seem quite harsh and blunt but that’s the reality of it. If I say “Yes, I have a son”, people then go onto ask questions like “where is he today?” “what age is he?” and I just don’t want that conversation to take place. I no longer worry about the other person feeling uncomfortable or upset at my answer because I have to live with this reality, their life will move on.

Perhaps saying that I don’t have any children will make that person feel less uncomfortable but the way I see it is that telling the truth might make them feel uncomfortable for 5 minutes but denying my son will make me feel awful for a long time.
A few years ago, I was in company that I didn’t know and someone who was drunk asked me “do you have any kids?” Because they were drunk, I felt it would be easier just to say no so I did. For the rest of that day and the next few days, I felt physically sick and so upset because I felt that I had denied Jacks existence. That experience has never left me and since that day, I have never said no to that question again, simply because it doesn’t work for me. There are no right or wrong answers to those questions, just like grieving...you have to do what feels right for you.

I just wish that no parent ever had to worry about those questions, no parent should ever lose their son or daughter.
Many bereaved parents ask me about this, perhaps you have had this experience and you could comment with what you say to those questions.

Sending love and strength to all of those missing their son or daughter.

Arlene

 

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