Who I Am After
It’s just a question. It’s the obvious place to take a conversation and asking is considered polite. Do you have kids? How many children do you have? Is that your only little one?
We know that you won’t expect it, we know the pity looks that our answer will bring on. We are the parents of angels, children lost to us, but still very much loved. We look like everyone else, most days masking our grief to blend into the background.
I won’t avoid your question, I won’t only mention my living child to spare your feelings. My daughter existed, she was my whole world for more than three years and her memory is with me always. The bit where you apologize (over and over) for asking, because you don’t know how to react is not necessary. I didn’t “forget” about her until you brought it up, I love to speak her name and talk about all of our precious memories, just like you love to talk about your living children.
My life was like yours before, I never imagined I would lose my first child. We were a normal family. She was happy, healthy, and so so perfect. Now, I feel much older than my 24 years. Her loss changed me more than I care to admit. Changed the way I parent. Changed the way I interact with others, even my spouse.
I usually keep to myself, I’ve always been a shy person, but now my anxiety is heightened around new people. I dread the conversation I ultimately will have when making new acquaintances. I dread making others uncomfortable and when I can tell that people only recognize me from the tragedy that hit our family.
This road will never be an easy one, I will never stop missing my Mila Rose. I know that it will only get easier to socialize as I adjust to the role my life has taken on. I am the mama to both an angel and a living child now.