Back from Atlanta

I got back from Atlanta this morning.  As I exited the gate and headed to baggage claim (my fellow traveler checked her bags), I saw the empty seats where just last October Dan and Alexander were waiting for me when I arrived from Kansas City.  I could clearly see Alexander sitting on his daddy’s lap with his face covered in face paint from the neighborhood fall festival they’d just attended.  I knew Alexander wasn’t going to be waiting for me today but I was still sad that he wasn’t there.

For the most part, Atlanta was good.  The conference kept me pretty busy. In one of my workshops on public speaking, we all had to speak for 2 minutes about our passion for the Junior League.  As I began to talk,  I started to break down.  I wanted to share how the friendships I’d made through the league helped me get through these past few months. I took a few seconds, composed myself, and quickly dicussed league friendships before discussing our community programs.  

During the week, I did cry several times when I was alone. Inevitably, when you get a group of women together, the talk turns to family (i.e., children).  My heart was breaking as I walked through the hotel and heard the conversations the other women were having about their children. I know people are going to talk about their kids and it doesn’t always bother me.  I think it bothered me this week because it was such an overload of conversation from so many women at once.  

One friend did recognize that I was getting upset and suggested I come up with a code word so it would give her a clue when it was becoming too much for me.  That’s a good idea. I’ll have to think of something that I can weave into a conversation without it being a noticeable conversation changer.

This week was an international conference.  I socialized a lot with the other women from my league and the 7 other NJ leagues.  I’m not sure if all of the ladies from the other NJ leagues knew about Alexander but none of them asked me about children.

The only time anyone asked me if I had children was during my pedicure.  Even though Alexander is no longer here with me, if asked, I will say I have a child and then explain that he passed away on December 20.  It might make others uncomfortable but for me I’ll always be Alexander’s mother and he’ll always be my son.

Dan was away visiting friends in Dallas this weekend.  When I got home, the house was so quiet and just a bit lonely.  After watering our very thirsty outdoor plants, I ran a few errands.  While I was out, I visited Alexander.

All the trees and flowers are blooming in the cemetery.  Despite my sadness of why I’m there, I must admit that it is beautiful to see all the greenery.

2 responses to “Back from Atlanta

  1. Michelle,
    Glad your trip went well, despite the hard emotions. We have to learn to navigate so many different situations now, that we never would’ve thought twice about before. I always mention my babies in Heaven when asked how many children I have. I don’t care if it make people uncomfortable; it makes me uncomfortable to not mention them. I also think it’s important for people to know about stillbirth and SUDC and giving them a face to go with it. Helps me know Felicity’s short life counts for something.
    Blessings this week!

  2. Dear Michelle,

    Its good to have you back- the conference sounds like it was really terrific.

    I can imagine conversations about family and kids that used to be so carefree are now painful. Its a reminder that when we meet strangers or even are around acquaintances, we may not always know what is going on underneath the surface. I think its wise if you are able to, to be open with people about it. And yes, by all means if you need a code word to excuse yourself…did you come up with one?

    You are absolutely right- he will always be your son and you will always be his mommy and you are indeed a wonderful one, as Dan is a wonderful father.

    I don’t think I ever told you this, but you and Dan were in my thoughts a lot when I went to visit Hannah in March and got to see her ski for the first time. It was the first time I had seen her since Alexander passed away. As you know I always love seeing her, but this time was a bit more precious and bittersweet. My heart hurt this time. I was thinking as I enjoyed watching her, how much you and Dan enjoyed your trip with Alexander to VT and all the sledding you did and how much it made him smile and laugh. Of course you (or Dan at least!) would have shown him the slopes when he got older. My thoughts just kept going back to the fact that I still just couldn’t understand how he could be gone and how unfair it was. Why him?

    Perhaps my little story does not make a lot of sense, I guess what I was trying to say is that I am sure its extremely difficult to carry on as each day brings some new, unknown situation to face. But you really are handling it the best anyone could. You’re amazing.

    love you guys,

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