Costco and Confusing Conversations

November 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, mother, pregnancy, silver lining | 10 Comments

2 for 1

A new Costco opened near our house.   I took the twins shopping there the other day.   I put them into the cart.   As I pushed them along, I saw a family who used to be in our Gymboree class.  The mother and I were pregnant at the same time last year.  Our due dates were a few weeks apart.  

She was holding her 11 month old daughter.   She looked at me and she was trying to remember how she knew me.   She asked “Do I know you from music class?”.   I thought about running the other way but decided to just tell her that we were from her 3-year-old son’s Gymboree class.    She said “Right, we were both pregnant last fall.   Smart of you to leave the baby at home.”  

In my mind, I quickly go through the scenarios.    If I had responded with the following:

1.  “Yes, Sawyer is happily at home.   I have to go now so I can get home in time to feed him.”   She would wave goodbye and walk away with her baby.

2.  “No, Sawyer is not at home.    He passed away.”   She would also wave goodbye and walk away with her baby.

As desperately as I want to come home and feed Sawyer, I know it is not my reality.   I took a deep breath and calmly explained that he was not at home.   He had died.

Earlier this week we had another confusing conversation:

A woman was speaking to me and the twins in passing.   She mentioned her 1-year-old son.   As I wrote in this post the twins love babies.  The twins excitedly tell her about their baby brother.   I quietly explain that their brother passed away.

The woman then said to the twins,  “You will see your brother again.”

Smiling the twins quickly reply, “We see Sawyer now.  We bring him flowers.”

The woman tries again, “Well, he is in a better place.”

The twins answer, “Yes – we send him balloons.”

At this point, I walk away and the twins follow.   My head hurts.   I don’t know what to say to the twins or to the women in these conversations.   How do I explain what I do not understand?  Maybe I should just stay home.


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  1. Oh my dear Lanie. I read your post to Tess. She said you should always tell the truth. Lying is never better. I think the truth is the best too. The twins have it just right. The more you tell the story, the less the story tells you, or something like that. It must be so very hard, easy for me to advise, but so hard to do. You and the twins honor Sawyer and Jake every time you speak of them.

    All my love, Amy

  2. I love the responses from the twins! I think they have it just right for where they are in their lives. Don’t worry for a moment that you’re not “telling them the truth”–they have an understanding based on what they can currently understand. Perhaps they will help you learn more about your coping mechanisms as well.

  3. You have so much to teach us all. I am sure it feels like it would be easier to stay home… but when you share, we all learn from you. You, Evan and the twins have so much to teach us about life and death. Thanks for sharing and having tough conversations.

  4. You have set the twins down the right path. They still have their brothers in their lives, as they joyfully explain to us adults who can’t so easily accept. You are doing a wonderful job with your children.

  5. Our children are our greatest joy and yours are surrounded by love and compassion–always and forever

  6. I think you handle these conversations so well by being true to what is in your heart and you are giving your children the example of how to face the day to day reality of this in a beautifully honest and brave way.

  7. I love how you always tell the truth and honor your children. You are very strong. xo

  8. Hi Lanie – This was actually a very reassuring post, I felt, because you passed an important and very difficult test by taking that deep breath and calmly telling your acquaintance the truth about Sawyer’s death. How many times do the rest of us fail that test when we are so much less challenged than you are.
    I send my love and support. Cornelia

  9. I love that you told the truth – that you wanted your story to be heard and you wanted Sawyer to be honored and remembered, yet another day – even by a woman who didn’t know him. You are strong and wonderful my (pi phi) friend!

  10. Lanie,
    Amy is right -never lie about where Sawyer is now. Take the opportunity to say sawyers name. He will always be a part of your family and he deserves to be recognized, if only its by word od mouth. The more you say his name and talk about him the easier it will become almost normal.
    The few times i deleted Evan from a conversation, I felt so bad and guilty and wondered what he was thinking.
    I love the idea for you to blog your thought.
    My love to all

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