When the doctor finally lifted my bed rest orders, Chris and I decided I should try to get out of the house some; re-enter the world. It is funny thing, as much as you can wish for the world to stop turning when going through such a challenging time, that is simply not what happens. Life goes on but getting back to it is much easier said than done. It is much like trying to jump onto a moving train.
My first outing was to a nail salon near my house to get a pedicure. Everything was going fine until the lady tried to make small talk. Her first question although seemingly innocent was,
Do you have children?
I froze; it was as if the question paralyzed me. Of course, she assumed I didn’t hear or understand her so she asked me again. I still didn’t answer.
It was that moment that I realized I don’t know how to answer that question. If I say yes and acknowledge Ansley as my daughter the way I would like to, the questions will continue, with boy or girl, followed by how old until finally I have to say she is dead. I couldn’t even say her name without crying, so this was probably not the best option if I was going to try to hold it together while in public. But, if I say no, then I feel incredibly guilty for not acknowledging her.
The third time she asked me, I said no. It was in a tone of me yelling it at her but in the volume of a whisper. She didn’t ask any more questions, and I didn’t wait until my toes were dry to leave. I couldn’t get out of there soon enough. The guilt from that one little word was almost more than I could bear.
I asked Chris how he would answer that question when he got home. He was as dumbfound as I was. Maybe it would be easier if there was a word. When your husband dies, you become a widow. When your wife dies, you become widower. When children loose parents they become orphans. What about when parents loose children?
It has now been over a year and I still struggle with this question. Sometimes I say yes, but often I say no. I have been able to justify in my mind that when I say no, I am only speaking about living children. Do you have rather than have you had. I realize it is just semantics, but it allows me to sleep at night.