The dreaded question

I was in the line at Starbucks yesterday when I bumped into someone I used to go to uni with.  It was all good and we hugged and exchanged pleasantries.  “Where are you working now? How’s DH (she married the only straight guy on our course) do you still keep in touch with x, y and z.”  The thing is, the whole time I was standing there I was willing her not ask if I had kids.  Isla and David were already sitting down but I was absolutely terrified that she’d ask.

She didn’t ask and neither did I, even though she alluded to the fact she had kids and this was her morning off . 

I have gone over this situation and we’ve discussed different answers but I’m still faced with blind panic at the though of having to either make someone feel incredibly uncomfortable or denying the existence of my boy, who still feels very much part of my family.

It’s not a huge big deal in the grand scheme of things but I’m still no further forward with coming up with an answer.



  • Had a scone today.  I thought this would never happen without missing our Friday mornings at M&S cafe.  Doubt I’ll ever be back there but at least I had the scone and thought happy thoughts.
  • Arranged a sleepover for Isla. The last time H stayed over Jude was upset that he was left out and I promised him he could have  a friend to sleepover when he was six.  How arrogant to make plans we couldn’t keep.  (He was happier cuddled up on he sofa with me as the girls had their fun)
  • Isla is well settled back in her own room and she’s been sleeping much better.
By judesmum

6 comments on “The dreaded question

  1. I haven’t read any of these since your first few blogs and I know there will be many bad days for every ok one but I need to hope that things will get easier for you all. The things you have achieved together are incredible and the list you gave doesn’t even begin to describe all that you cope with on a daily basis I’m sure. I was at a funeral today for a little girl who lost a very short battle with a terrible disease. I wrote her mum and dad a letter to say how sorry we were and to tell them about you and David and how far you have come. She told me today that letter gave her hope. She is where you were in December but she said knowing that a mum can keep breathing is helping. I know I can’t do the thing you need to make this better but I can be here if you need someone to help you tick those achievements off your list. Lots of love, Lisa x

  2. I HATE this question. I still do, almost five years out. Any more if I know I’ll never see the person again, I tell them I have three girls. If they ask ages, I’ll tell them how old Hannah would be. If it’s someone I’m going to see infrequently, but still see once in a while (Lil’s classmates’ parents) I’ll simply say two. If it’s a someone I’m going to see more regularly, I’ll wait until I’m a bit more comfortable with them and tell them about Han.

    Ultimately, you have to decide what makes YOU the most comfortable. Folks have a tendency to completely wig-out when you tell them you have a child who died. That said, I’ve found so many others have lost children as well, but it’s not something you really advertise, as you well know. Once you mention you have lost a child, they come forth with the same.

    Hang in there, it really DOES get easier, even though it doesn’t feel that way sometimes.


    • Rach,

      It’s really a judgement call isn’t it. Luckily I live in a smallish town where everyone pretty much knows what happened, it’s just on those occasions when you’re not sure.

      I think I’ll take your advice depending on who the person is that asks.

      Thanks for helping me through this, and thank you for your blog, it’s a testament to your strength and love for your daughters (all 3 of them)


  3. Hi Lisa,
    I know that I needed (and still do) to hear about people who are surviving. You can pass on my blog details to her if you think it would help. Or not if it’s all a bit sad!
    See you soon.

  4. Hello judesmum!
    I’m sorry you’re experiencing something as tough as the loss of a child, you’ll be in my prayers!

    I found your blog today, while I was searching “how to talk to bereaved parents” on google… I’m not fortuante enough to have any kids yet (I’m only 21), but two months ago a family VERY close to mine lost their 30 year-old son. I could not attend the funeral since the whole thing happened so quickly and unexpectedly and I could not drive a 5 hour drive that’s required for me to get where they live. I did go to the memorial service though and it was the hardest and most emotionally exhausting thing I’ve done in my whole life… At first I didn’t know what to say… I just huged the parents tight (they’re like my aunt and uncle) and told them how sorry I was (and still am) for their loss…

    Earlier today, I called them to see how they’re doing and the mum answered the phone. She seemed pretty OK today – though I could tell there was something different in her voice, different from what her voice had been before this tragedy. I told her I love her, she’s in my heart and in my prayers and that I’m thinking of her… She seemed happy to hear it. Then we talked about her grand-daughter (her other son has kids) and she was fine talking about it.

    She was sooooooo sweet and kind to me, both at the sevice and on the phone. I really love her and I genuinly care for her and when I say ” I care” I REALLY mean it. Since I don’t know anyone else who’s lost a child, are there any things I can say to support her, make her feel even a tiny bit better? Your advice would be appreceiated!

    Again, I’m really sorry for your loss… I’ll pray for you and your family!


    • Hi Eva,
      I’m really sorry to hear about your friend.
      I think it sounds as though you are doing al you can for them at the moment. I know that I really appreciate when people call or text or just speak to me about Jude. It helps to know that he’ll never be forgotten. Maybe you could share some memories or photos with them if they are up for it.
      They are lucky to have such a caring friend.

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