Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

On Anonymity

September 26, 2006

One of the big reasons to get away for the past few days was to give ourselves some space. Not to escape, exactly, but to get away from our normal environment and routine and their constant reminders of our loss. Yet even a few hundred miles from home, at least 90 percent of our thoughts, feelings, and words are about our little boy. Still, it is nice to be here. It is a relief to be able to just check out of our life, and into a hotel, and to unwind a little.

Not that it doesn’t take discipline. Much as we enjoy the anonymity, we’re constantly holding ourselves back from some major faux pas in social situations. Offering a bright, “Thanks for a great meal! Our son’s name was also Will—just like you—but he suddenly died and we had his funeral last week.” would make things a mite uncomfortable. Simple questions that people kindly ask have us choking back words of (too) honest response. Saying “I’m mourning my son, and how are you?” to the desk clerk’s routine question would not be good. Nice couples in restaurants who (perceptively) comment on Ella’s adorableness have no idea how hard it is to hold back a, “well, her brother was cute, too!” Perusing the art store, the proprietor smiled and said, “can I help you find anything?” My brain instantly produced the response, “yes, we’re looking for our son. But, alas, he’s not here. He died two weeks ago”. Instead I said, “thanks; we’re just browsing.”

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