My first week of joining back to work, post-Ayden.
One of my ex-teammates whom I had worked with very closely came up to me and said he’d like to catch up. We grabbed our evening chai and had a face-to-face time in our office cafe.
I’m just back to work. Most people who know me, know the context.
He said – good to see you back. How was your vacation?
I told him, it was more of a change-of-scene than a vacation. It was more of a run-away-from-things, and that it was badly needed.
He spoke a lot about the vacation, how well they make chai in office and a lot of other things. In between, he plugged in my health and checked if the message therapy that I was going through helped me with my backpain. But not even once he asked me about my son or how we are holding up.
I felt bad.
This wasn’t a person whom I was talking to after a long time. This wasn’t a person who didn’t know what to say in such an situation. This was a person who had come to visit me at the hospital; who was in touch with me, checked on me, checked on Ayden, passed on his condolences. This was a person whom I had sent some very strong emotional messages when I saw things falling apart.
I did bring up the topic in between, assuming he might be struggling to start the conversation on Ayden. I mentioned his name. I said I had a tough time. He smiled and moved on to the next topic.
All I have in my mind is my son. In that first one week of joining back, my so-called-vacation or the new role that you’ve applied for are not my priority.
There’s a reason why I went on that vacation. There’s a reason why I have that chronic backpain. There’s a reason why I am back to work sooner than planned.
Another friend whom I usually bump into at work at least 2-3 times a week, one day emailed me – everytime I see you around, I want to ask you, but didn’t know how. If you don’t mind, I’d love to know more about your baby. He added a couple of disclaimers to ensure that I spoke about it only if I’m 100% comfortable. Later that week, we caught up over coffee, I told him what happened. He asked if I got a chance to click any pictures of Ayden. I showed him some of them. He asked who picked his name, if he was named after anyone.
That felt good. He wasn’t nosy. He genuinely wanted to know. I know the difference.
That night, I wrote about that conversation in my journal.
The point is, I won’t burst into tears at the mention of my son. In fact, that makes me feel good. It makes me feel that there are people who think about him. It pulls me apart to think that people have forgotten him and his existence.
I’d be more than happy to share his story, show his pictures, tell you about CHDs and TGA…
If there’s one thing constant in my mind irrespective of where I am & what I do, it’s him. When you ask me about him, you are not reminding me of him. I haven’t forgotten him to get reminded. His life & death defines my life now.
And, this is not just about me. I’m sure I represent millions of other bereaved parents across the globe who want to be asked about their lost children.
Remembering our children is the best gift you can give a bereaved parent!