"We lost our son last April to SIDS," is something I have to say to people fairly often.
Well, I don't have to say it, but it's something I say a lot of times in response to "Oh, I bet Daddy wants a boy!" and "Are these your only three?" The appropriate response is, "Im sorry," "Wow, that must be really hard," or maybe even "I don't know what I would do." Because, honestly, no one knows what they would do if they lost a child.
It's so easy to think you know. In the past few months I've heard or read some responses that people think are appropriate that just really - mainly people eluding to killing themselves if anything like that happened to them. Don't you think I've thought of that? Contimplated it? Hell, even planned it down to the last detail and then beat myself up for ever thinking it would be okay to put my husband and daughter in that situation.
Don't say to me, "Oh, I'd jump off the bridge if something happened to my baby," because aside from the fact that suicide has been tempting enough, it makes me feel like you think I didn't love my son enough because I haven't killed myself in grief. Honestly, you don't know that you would jump off a bridge or have to be committed, or lose your mind, or any of the other things that people regularly say in response to hearing about child death.
How can I act normal? Because I have to. Because there isn't another option. I have three other children that need me to be normal, a husband that needs support just as much as I do, and a community that expects me to reach out if I need something instead of just spiraling inward to the point of mental breakdowns or suicide.
And because I choose to. Because while losing my baby is about the worst thing I can imagine, it would be so much worse for my family to lose me too. Life goes on- there are times when it doesn't feel like it, but it has, and it will continue to. The whole world doesn't stop every time a baby dies, regardless of how unfair that might seem to grieving mothers whose world has come to a complete standstill.
So next time you hear about someone losing a child, losing a parent, losing their dog- just don't tell them what you would do if it was you. Because it's not you.