the letter M on grass

The Question

A little thought

 In every day life there are many conversations, one specific question always arises. As human beings we are inquisitive about the people we meet. It is the most obvious way we communicate. It is a way of making new friends or simply as part of an individual employment role.

Questions

How are you today?
Have you been busy?
Would you like a hand packing?
How many children do you have?
Polite conversations always begins with the simple answers. Or at least in a normal world it would be a simple question; a normal world where children hadn’t died.
But you can’t answer straight away, the one question you should know, that you should be able to answer in an instant, you can’t. Then the odd looks when you don’t answer right away. The confused looks which spread across their faces, you know exactly what they are thinking. “Surely she should know how many children she has?”
How can such a question with the most obvious answer be one of the most difficult ones to answer?

Five

I am a Mum to five children; but I parent four. I speak openly about the death of Melody, particularly when I can write about her.
However when I meet new people, especially people who have no clue as to what has happened; I pause. I try and gauge what sort of person they are; of course most people judge this after a few times of meeting, but that question often comes early on in conversations, I know I quickly have to try and answer it, but not come across as completely crazy and not know how many children I have become a mother to.

White Lie. The Fantasy.

I have to admit, for a tiny moment the answer to a total stranger is that I DO have five children; but the fifth is always at home with her Dad, or Grandparent or school or anywhere but in a grave yard.
But as we all know it isn’t as simple of that, then they ask the ages and where are they all? You must have your hands full with five. It’s hard not to find yourself caught up in a little white lie. I try to imagine what it would be like with an extra little person, it is mayhem here already. If only.
The other side of it is getting caught up with the taboo, as sometimes it is just simpler.
“I have four children”

Guilt

But of course that is also a lie. Not giving her a mention; a moment of thought; leaving me to feel guilty for the rest of the day.
Living in a society where child loss is such a taboo, the first white lie would be more acceptable, than saying the truth. The ugly truth that your minus one isn’t anywhere.
Sometimes easier to avoid the awkwardness, the stuttering, and the head tilts, when all you want is a chat, to make a friend.
I am not ashamed of our story and am pleased that my friends allow me to be open.
I hate hiding her because she is my baby girl.
But Sometimes, and only sometimes it is nice not to be a bereaved parent,
Sometimes the simplest of questions are indeed the hardest.
I have five children but I parent four.

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