Monday, September 12, 2011

The overwhelmingly hard in the normally simple.

It has been almost three years, and I still do not know how to properly respond to the question.

You would think, since I am asked it often, it would be easy by now. That I would not still grapple with what to say.

But I do.

And my struggle is not because "answering this question is silently ripping my soul apart", although that used to be true. God, in His abundant Grace and Love for me has comforted and cared for my deep grief in ways I would not have hoped or imagined. No, my confusion in responding is more "what is appropriate for this situation/person."

The question you ask?

"How many children do you have?"

Simple as the question is... the answer is not always as simple.

again... it is not super, gut-wrenchingly painful to be asked... it is just confusing trying to form the proper answer for the proper situation....

Let me give you a little example...

"How many children do you have?"

I am absolutely certain an immediate response is standard to this is just , before I can answer I have a few questions/determinations of my own...

1. I know the next question is always " How old are they" so a true response of "three" will inevitably lead to a Caden discussion.
2. Do we have time to discuss Caden...because when you tell someone your child has died... they have questions... (this is a major consideration when in line at the grocery changes completely when you are just chatting with a new acquaintance...)
 * this is also where it is important I tell you, that when I talk about Caden's death, my mind directly links God and His provision for us and His Love and care for our family... and I always like to share about what "really" happened... not just that she died...but that her death has a purpose...
?do I have time...?
~ elapsed time .9 seconds ~
3. Do I really want to discuss this...depends...some days I am moody and selfish and the answer is no...sad, but true
4. Do I really want to see the sadness/pity in there face?
~ elapsed time 2.7 seconds ~
5. Will telling them about Caden completely derail the conversation... will we ever get back to what we were talking about?
(Like what if we were discussion fabulous new shoes...or the making of caramel brownies... or my new fascination with Pinterest? Will our carefree, happiness of a conversation end?)
5 1/2. How selfish am I for wanting to talk about pointless things instead of deep meaningful things?  ~1 second lost to feelings of sinful guilt~
6. If I don't tell them... is is dishonoring to Caden not to talk about her?
7. If I don't tell them... am I totally missing an opportunity to witness and share about God and His over whelming Goodness and Love?
~ elapsed time 5.6 seconds ~
AHHH!!! what to say...what to say...

At about this point the polite person who asked the common, innocent question has major question marks in their eyes...
why is she taking so long to respond?
is she so sleep deprived she forgot?
was she even listening to the question?
So they shift their feet, and cock their head to the side as if to gently say... yes? I'm waiting... 
and then I have to make a decision.

The overwhelmingly hard in the normally simple.


Anna said...

I have actually thought of you often when I get asked this question (and I have it easy to answer). I pray for you to be able to discern the right way to answer the question in the given situation. May God always direct you. My prayers are always with you.

Katie said...

I actually almost didn't comment because I went through a very similar set of mental questions in how to comment in your comments.

My answer to that question is equally as difficult.

I have 3 kids at home.
Two are my bio sons, 1 is my step son.
But the 1 who's my step is really mine, I just have to say step so others can understand our family.
And one of my sons is from a previous marriage, and one is from my forever marriage.
And then my step daughter lives with her Mom.
And they do have the same Mom, he just lives with us and she with her. It was a mess.

And then there is the one I usually don't bring up. The one that was the ugly thing that happened to me when I was 17. I rebelled and became pregnant. I had an abortion. God forgave me, healed me, and released me to grieve. It's so hard to not honor that child by not mentioning her, but there are not many who can understand that I don't hate myself anymore for it, but I have and still on occasion grieve. I am certainly pro-life, which seems hypocritical, but it's really not. I just understand more now.

Penny said...

Cari, I don't know how I'd answer if I had an answer like yours. I guess it would depend on all those things you mentioned. I probably wouldn't relive it if this is a casual meeting in a grocery store checkout line, but if it's a friend of a friend or new church member I know I'd be socializing with often, I'd probably share. But God may want the lady/man in the checkout lane to hear Caden's story. Just follow the Holy Sprit's leading. :) God bless.

Anonymous said...

I never know what to say either. I always feel guilty when I talk about "the boys".....because it wasn't always that way.


Anonymous said...

I have a friend that answers that she has three boys here on earth and a daughter in heaven.