Irreplaceable

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I’m on the plane headed to a blog conference in August of ’11. Sitting next to an older man who is telling me about what he’s going to New York for. His wife of 40 years passed away a few months ago. He’s bringing his little dog with him to a friend’s home to stay for a while and look for a place to live.

He’s kind and friendly. We get around to what I’ll be doing in New York.

“I’m attending a conference. Exploring the city. And getting my first tattoos!”

He looks surprised. “Tattoos? Really? I don’t peg you as a tattooed kinda girl. What are you going to get?”

I tell him about how I lost my twins, Preston and Julian, just a few months before. Born at 20 weeks, and only living a few minutes/hours after a traumatic week in the hospital. He nods and pats my leg as I tear up a little.

“You’re young. You’ll have more kids.”

My heart sinks as I nod and fall silent, his kindly meant words stinging in my heart. I wish I could think of something to say but I can’t.

He’s right. Only – neither of us could know that a year in a half later I’d be looking at another child gone and the very real possibility of no more biological children.

That’s not it though. Sure, if you lose a baby you might be able to “have more kids.” Although not all of us can. But here’s the thing – why is that even an answer to give to a mama?

When he told me he lost his wife, it never crossed my mind (nor would it cross anyone else’s) to tell him, “You’ll find a new wife one day.”

Can you imagine?

No one ever told me when I lost my grandpa I had another one so I shouldn’t be so sad.

I’ve never heard anyone say in regards to other kinds of loss:

“Be thankful you even have a sister.”

“At least you had your mom for 30 years.”

Or even:

“You just need a new dog. Then you won’t miss or talk so much about the one you loved!” 

We don’t even say this kind of thing to people about their pets. Why on earth do we think this is ok to say about a child? A unique, anticipated, loved little person who changed lives even before they took a breath?

Is our society really that desensitized to babies now? We just consider them replaceable?

I don’t care how many children you have. The one(s) you lost are never replaced. Their spot in your life is never filled with that same little person. I could have ten children and I will always feel like someone is missing. 3 little someones.

Because someone is missing.

Someone irreplaceable.


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Diana Stone About Diana Stone

Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Comments

  1. Respectfully, yes. Yes, people do say those exact things. Well-meaning people who can’t think of anything to say and think they need to try to fix our grief instead of just being there and being another soul listening to your heartbreak, regardless of the loss, they say those things. I have heard “at least you have your daughter,” after my miscarriages, and “at least you were able to get pregnant again,” sure. I’ve also heard, “at least you have your sister,” after the loss of my brother, and, “at least you had this much time,” after the loss of a grandparent and on and on… People want to fix loss, they want there to be a silver lining. Those who have lost just want to be heard, be understood.

  2. There will always be 2 empty spaces at my dinner table.

  3. I don’t know the pain of losing a child, but I know the excitement and love of anticipating one (during pregnancy) so I can imagine the absence when it is taken away. This was beautifully written. Thanks.

  4. Oh my god, I can’t tell you how PERFECT this article is! It’s EXACTLY what I want to tell EVERYONE! I lost my daughter just 4 months ago (and another baby a year before), and already others are acting as if I need to move on and “have more babies.” Like that will “fix” anything. I’m still broken. My heart is broken, and those broken pieces will never fully heal. I lost her – and part of me died that same day. I wish people would understand that a child is a child no matter tiny. Yes, I was only 21 weeks along, but let me tell you I gave birth to a perfect, tiny baby. She had perfect fingers and toes complete with tiny nails. How on earth can people just pretend she didn’t exist?

    I saw something on pinterest that I of course had to repin. The quote was: “Before you tell a grieving parent to be grateful for the children they already have, think about which one you could live without.”

    I don’t have a living child, but it doesn’t matter. I’m a mother. I was pregnant twice and lost both of my babies. THAT quote is perfect. I’m going to need to remember that when someone says something somewhat rude to me again!

Trackbacks

  1. […] loss and heartbreak they are suffering. It’s similar to what Diana shares in her article Irreplaceable. You wouldn’t tell a person who lost a spouse that they could always get re-married. That […]

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