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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.

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