Is Faith your only child? ugh...
Moving to a new state after Gracie passed away was tough. No family, no friends, just the three of us. We moved about 8 months after Grace passed away for a new job opportunity for John and for a change in the weather. #NotAFanOfLakeEffect
We have met a lot of amazing people in our 9 years here in Florida. With Faith getting involved in new groups, schools, sports, and organizations and being the little social butterfly she is, we have a lot of encounters with parents, coaches and teachers. People that enrich our lives, that we love and are a part of our framily.
Someone HAS to ask... "Do you have other children?" #InsertSigh
In the years since Grace has passed the answer to this question has changed... It has changed many times and continues to change. Started out with, "We have 2 girls, this is Faith and Grace is in Heaven." Changed to "I had 2 girls, one passed away when she was 3." Also there was a period when I just answered "YES, Faith is my only child." There were more responses, but you get my point.
It is hard to respond the "right" way, because there isn't one. It is a natural question to ask. I appreciate the fact that people wonder, because it means they want to get to know us. What is the right thing to say in response? Does it depend on who is asking? What if I make them upset?
There were times (when Faith was younger) and was with me during my response of "YES, Faith is my only." The look on her face was like a dagger to my heart. I can't imagine what went through her head.... this little nugget was wrecked that I didn't mention her sister. One time, I corrected myself in Faith's presence and told Faith I would talk to her about it later when we were home. She didn't forget and actually barely was in the car before she asked me why I say that.
I am not sure what I told her exactly. I know that I don't like to upset people. There is pretty much a ZERO chance that my bringing up Grace would make anyone (especially someone that may have been making "small talk") feel good or happy they asked...
I do know that it is not always the same response when people ask me. Strangers have asked me many times when Faith was younger. I would say she was my only and some would reply that I should have more children, or that it isn't fair for a child to not have a sibling, or... don't you want sweet Faith to have a sibling? Ouch. (my tears are flowing) I remember after a few of these comments, I told them "actually that I had a daughter that passed," just to end an uncomfortable conversation. #NotProudOfIt #SureShutThemUp
If I told them that I had a child that died... a complete stranger... how would they feel? IMO it isn't fair to make anyone feel like they should/shouldn't have asked. I have noticed that when I do say I have a daughter that passed away, they tense up, tear up, get anxious, get upset. To make someone that was asking a simple question upset or sorry that they asked makes it harder to pick a solid response.
I have changed. Faith is older. She is stronger than I am when it comes to Grace. She is a "Grace Warrior" and will tell anyone and everyone about her. I have learned a lot from Faith when it comes to this. I have learned that as much as it isn't fair to upset someone with an answer to their question, it also isn't fair to deny this BEEUTIFUL soul's life, as short as it may have been.
With the age of social media, it isn't hard to get a grasp of people's lives. Pictures, posts, memories and comments help us gather insight. I have had people see my posts and once Grace comes up randomly in a conversation, they say "I wasn't sure how to ask you" or "I am sorry, I saw your posts about Grace, can I ask what happened."
It still ends up the same way, a little bit uncomfortable on both sides of the question/statement. "Do I say More?" "Do I ask about her?" "Crap, What do I say now?"
We have no problem talking about Grace, we love to actually! My responses have been narrowed down to a few. Obviously depends on the situation and my company. If I think they can handle my response, then I say "I have 2 daughters, a wonderful 12 year old and a beautiful daughter that passed away when she was 3 from a rare form of cancer." Sometimes, they can relate, sometimes they can handle it and do ask about her. It can end up a really nice, touching, "get to know who you are" kind of conversation!
I guess my point is... People will ask. It is ok. They may want to know more, they may not. They may know someone, who knows someone that is going through childhood cancer that I may be able to help. Either way, it is better for me (and my family) to acknowledge Grace in as many instances allowed, to talk about her little life and the impact she had on so many.
Faith, John and so many more (without even knowing) have showed me that there is strength in speaking her name. There is wisdom and advocacy that I may be able to offer someone.
I am still picky about the situations where my response may be that Faith is my only. It is to protect the asker from feeling uncomfortable and sad and sorry they asked.
Lately, I have been a bit freer in my sharing of Grace's precious life.
Thank you to ALL who ask. Don't be shy, I love to talk about her. I love to hear about her and her memories with people. And the impact she had in such a short time on this Earth.
LOVE YOU BEE and TAIF!
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