Tuesday, January 13, 2015

And it begins...

I feared this from the beginning.  Justin quickly started talking about how Benjamin will understand Lydie.  That it's bullshit that we have to talk to our one-year-old about death.  How soon he'll ask, "Why does everyone else's sister live with them?"

I thought we had a little more time, but it came to fruition tonight, when I picked up Ben from daycare and his teacher handed me this:

Innocent enough right?  Oh, except for that siblings question.

That's supposed to be a clear-cut question.  Not something you have to stop and think about how to answer.  But it's not.  Not for us. Afterall, they didn't clarify whether they meant living or dead siblings.

How should I handle this?  I am tempted just to write "Lydia" in that space and leave it at that.  No more, no less.  I cannot NOT fill something in the blank there.  I can't pretend that she never existed.  I can't pretend my son is an only child, even though he sure looks like that from the outside.

But I don't have any photos of Ben and his sister together for that bulletin board- there have never been and there will never be photos that include both of them, and that hurts my heart.  And shakes me to my core.

Advice from the more seasoned baby-loss mamas?  This is uncharted territory for me.

(And dammit, daycare teachers, don't you think you might have been able to use your brains for a second and realized that maybe it would be hard for us to have our child as the fucking student of the month?  Can't we just get a pass?)


  1. Cara Fredwell EdwardsJanuary 13, 2015 at 7:38 PM

    You do not know me but I went to high school with Justin. I have followed your blog from the beginning and I just wanted you to know how brave I think you are, not to mention inspirational. You may not see it but I do. You have the strength to face these feelings and be mad. You get up every morning and face the day. You may be in the rabbit hole but you are trying to figure this out. You are still mothering Ben. You are not staying in bed and closing out the World. You are facing this head on, and as much as it sucks, you are doing it. I just wanted you to know that I could never imagine your pain and there are many people saying a prayer of strength for you everyday.

    Cara Fredwell Edwards

  2. Ugh. Of COURSE they give this to you now.

    I would right her name right in there. I mean, they DO know what happened to you guys, right? It's not they're complete strangers?!

    Barf. Just barf. This is the shit I fear.

  3. Oh, man. I hate this question in its many forms (How many children do you have? Is this your first?). I think you should answer in whatever way you will feel best. If that is writing Lydia's name and leaving it at that, do it. Do what makes you feel best and like you are honoring her as you'd like to. In the same vein, if that means leaving it blank, go for it.

    I'm not in the same position as you, but I found that the best way for me to handle L's loss was by doing what I wanted to do in terms of how it related to others, regardless of whether it made them feel uncomfortable.

    Do let us know what you decide to do.

  4. Totally what A Few Good Eggs said. Do what feels right and who gives a sh** if it makes anyone uncomfortable.
    THIS is the stuff that no one thinks about when their child hasn't died. The stuff that can kill your day out of nowhere in a split second when just before that you were having a decent - maybe even good - day. And you didn't even necessarily know it was a good day until it went to hell with one innocent word, question, or generic form.
    This question in some form is on EVERY piece of medical history you'll ever fill out. How many pregnancies? Live births? Children? etc etc etc.

    After 5 years, I now write "Anna (deceased)". Earlier on I would write 'died at birth' or 'died in 2009' or something more specific. But I don't ever leave that line open either. In fact, Anna still holds space in our Christmas card. This year I even included a picture of her.

    These are our children. Living or no, they are as much a part of our family as the ones who make messes and have their own bedrooms, all of it.

  5. I know I'm repeating what I've already told you, but I think it's very important for the teachers to know about Lydie as it is something huge Ben is dealing with at home, and trust me, from experience, it WILL surface at school, prob not this year, but it will happen. And also, I think it's good for you and your grief to publiclly acknowledge her as his sister. Do what feels right to you. And it's ok if that changes from year to year.

  6. Sibling(s): Lydia (angel)

    Sorry you have to deal with this now...or ever. No one should have to contemplate how to answer this question.


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