I Have Two Kids

22 Jan

One of the more difficult moments to surface when meeting new people after the death of a child is the inevitable conversational curveball. How many kids do you have, Kim? The first time it happened, my heart shattered just a little bit more.

Beat. T-t-two, I finally spew. Of course I have two. You cannot, after all, erase an individual’s entire life and why would you want to? But it’s hard and it’s inopportune and some days you just can’t do the story justice but still you tell it because it’s important to acknowledge that even though life is not even-handed, it is still worth living. Those of us who die out of order must be equally celebrated for having had the courage to stand in there and duke it out for the little time they were offered in comparison to the rest of us.

My experience with loss has changed my approach to introductions. What keeps you busy? has replaced questions about hearth and home. Do you hike? has become my preferred opening line. I take little for granted now. I know that everyone has a story and that sometimes the telling of it shouldn’t take place in the midst of small talk.

Within the context of her job as a brain injury therapist, my daughter used to talk about the importance of being able to put yourself into the shoes of others. I do that more often now, and with greater intention. It’s a tough way to learn a lesson but it reminds me that even though she’s gone she still has plenty to teach me.

© Kim Reynolds 2013


Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Where's My Kid?


Tags: , , , ,

7 responses to “I Have Two Kids

  1. ♡eM

    January 22, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    I am learning so much from you, your openness, your compassion, your pain. I would like to speak with people with such intention. We all enter conversations with our stories, but leave holding and sometimes cradling another’s. It’s an important exchange no matter how seemingly “small” the talk. I am thinking of new ways to converse. Thanks.

    • wheresmykid

      January 23, 2013 at 7:52 am

      The exchange between two people can be so much more than the default expressions we rely on. I think that when we spend more time considering the impact of our chosen words, both sides of the conversation can become more meaningful. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Words We Women Write

    January 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Welcome to WWWW. Your honesty is humbling, you have so much to teach us.

  3. klarunia@thegriefdiaries

    February 14, 2013 at 10:00 am

    This is so familiar. Not identically for myself – it’s less introductions and rather conversations around mothers for me; the knowledge of using past tense and knowing people can work out why, but trying not to blurt it out for their comfort. It’s hard to me true to your own grief and emotions whilst trying to ‘put yourself in the shoes of others’ as your daughter so rightly said.
    My cousin however, who started university the autumn after her brother died (in the Spring of 2011) shares your painful introductions. She was bombarded with innocent ‘get to know you’ questions from fellow students none-the-wiser. I feel for you both and anyone else in this position, but sharing these feelings should be helpful to those who haven’t experienced it as much as those who have, as we will all go through it at some point.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. tersiaburger

    July 5, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I only had one child. I have 4 stepchildren. I used to say “I have one of my own and 4 stepchildren…” Now I say “my only child died in January…” Thank you for sharing.

  5. Denise

    July 6, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Since my son died, I’ve just blurted out, “Two, but one died” and cried. Now, not so much. “Two,” I still say, because it’s true. I’ve even been asked how old they are and answered that, too, without saying anything else. But my daughter just had her second birthday since my son died, and she is now 20 and he died at 21. She (god willing) will one day be older than he is, and I am scared. So maybe next time I’m asked their ages, I’ll say, “20 and Forever 21,” which is what I named my blog.

    My heart goes out to you, to all of us who are living the unthinkable.

    • wheresmykid

      July 6, 2013 at 11:24 am

      Hi Denise,
      Yes. To all of us who are living the unthinkable, the unacceptable, the unimaginable. Somehow surviving this with you is a comfort. Thank you for taking the time to comment. My heart also goes out to you.


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