“I’m So Sorry, He Died”

No matter how many times I have to say it it isn’t getting any easier.  We just had a visit from a gardener as we need some fairly major work done on our garden.  He apologised that he had had to miss a previous appointment we’d made because of a drama with his teenage daughter.  Then went on to say that we must understand because we have children but they must be younger, he asked where they were, said that they were being very quiet.  He had seen the pram still parked under the stairs, still sitting unused.  It’s a fair assumption to make.  We haven’t packed anything of Lentil’s away, we don’t want to, we like having his things around, it helps me to believe that he was real.  One day, hopefully, they will belong to someone else.  One day we will go into hospital pregnant and come out with our baby.  One day.  

In the meantime we’re left in the awkward situation of being parents without a child.  I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t say anything to the gardener, I just busied myself in the kitchen while my husband took him outside to show him the garden and to explain my silence.  It’s so hard to know how to phrase it.  I knew that if I told him that Lentil had died I would burst into tears.  I didn’t feel that was fair on the poor man who had just popped in after work to give us a quote.  He’s not the first person that’s asked though.  We’ve had a number of phone calls; baby photographers who have got our names from somewhere, an estate agent who showed us a house a few months ago and opens the conversation with “so what did you have? A boy or a girl?”, the lady in the chip shop who sees us with a pram and assumes Poppy is ours so offers her congratulations to us.

I feel so sorry for the people that we’re having to tell.  The look on their face or the change in their voice.  Sometimes even hearing a stranger on the other end of the phone trying not to cry.  I hate making people feel like that and I know it will continue.  New parents at school who don’t know about Lentil will ask if I have any children, if I’m lucky enough to fall pregnant again people will ask if it’s our first.  I can’t and don’t want to deny his existence but I also don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable or sad.  It will get easier for me as I get more used to saying it but every time I tell someone new it’s a shock for them.  I’m sorry that he died and that his death makes people sad but I’m so proud that he existed so I’m going to continue to talk about my little boy because I have to, it’s all I have.

5 thoughts on ““I’m So Sorry, He Died”

  1. It’s so hard to deal with the relentless barrage of questions and assumptions in that first period. One thing I learned was that I couldn’t feel responsible for someone else’s reaction to our tragedy, that I shouldn’t feel guilty for making them sad, just as they shouldn’t feel guilty for asking a question that dissolved me into liquid grief. It is what it is. When we decide to face the world again, that’s all part and parcel of it. It’s so bloody hard though.

    I was lucky in that I lived in a very small, rural community and my friends did a sterling job of getting the word out that our son had sadly been stillborn. Nevertheless there were the encounters with the people who the grapevine had not reached.

    Most memorable was the time when I was at our doctor’s surgery and a lady in the waiting room enquires if I had had a boy or a girl this time. The entire waiting room sucked in their breath collectively and silence fell. I could tell the woman realized she had said something wrong so I stammered, “A boy… But he was stillborn… He didn’t come home…” And she collapsed into sobs and I ended up consoling her even though inside I had splintered into shards. A close second would be when we were waiting for the results of an autopsy in the same bit of the hospital used for neonatal ultrasounds and a woman told me I had the glow of an expectant mother. What could I say? That actually it’s the glow of a mother about to learn the cause of her baby’s death? My husband just gripped my hand tighter and we said nothing.

    It gets easier to deal with over time. It’s like a shell that you grow and the answers come more easily, rehearsed and practiced as they’ve become, and then you have to deal with “How many children do you have?” and you stammer not knowing whether to count the lost child too.

    Dealing with other people is just another one of those baby steps through grief I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so hard not to feel responsible. I find myself rehearsing answers to different questions in my head before I go anywhere just in case I get asked. It’s never then that the questions come though. It’s always when I’m least expecting them! X

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally know what you mean. I struggle with this too. With new people especially. I don’t want to drop a bomb on them and on the conversation, but I also don’t ever want to deny Eva by not talking about her. It doesn’t really get any easier, but I think your own reserves refill a bit so you can say it without crying eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

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