There are times at work that I am asked how my kids are doing. Not very often – but it just happened again this week.
Even though I practice in a small community not everyone knows that Nolan is gone.
I see now how much I shared of my personal life when I see families and they ask about my kids.
If I am not at work I can share my loss. I can be a grieving mom. I can describe the heartbreak of losing your child when he was looking so good and told you he was feeling better with his illness.
So I try to be very brief in my answer. “They are good” “They are getting older.” But sometimes the parent asks for more details…Your oldest- how is college going for him? What year is here? Is he still at Purdue? That is when I feel lost.
Do I tell them the truth?
It is these times that I wish I had the courage to say Nolan is gone. But I cannot say this without breaking down and crying. It is so difficult. I feel like I am lying when I don’t tell them. But how can I drop a bomb like that? The parent is making pleasantries. If I could share I would. But really I need to focus on the reason for the visit and not bring up my personal life and loss.
Some day I will be able to talk about Nolan’s passing and not cry. And I hate crying out in public. This past February I was part of a panel for a MOPS group discussing child loss. I had to practice my intro:
“Hello – My name is Dr. Lisa Gold and I have two children. One is 15 years old and one is forever 19.”
It took me a week practicing to say this without breaking down and sobbing. But I did it. I cried a bit during the discussion but less than I expected I would.
Don’t get me wrong – I want to talk about Nolan. By talking about him I keep him close to me.
I would rather talk to someone about my good memories of him. His laugh. His smile. His love of his friends. I love hearing stories and memories about him.
This is better than telling a parent at my office that my son is gone and by suicide.
That is not what I want to remember of him.