My Musings

Conversations with a Loss Mum

Epiphany (noun): A moment of sudden and great realisation

Anna is a fictional bereaved mother, but let’s face it, we have all been Anna. Except, we all stopped short of Anna’s conversations didn’t we? So I’ve drawn a line. I’ve drawn a line in the conversations where we loss mums tend to. We didn’t have the full discourse that Anna did. But if we weren’t stunned into silence and had been able to move past that line, these may be some of the discussions we would have liked to have had.

Bravo fictional Anna! I’m rooting for you!!

Conversation 1: Shirley is Anna’s Mum

Shirley: Oh I feel so sorry for my friend, her daughter is due to have her baby soon, but she lives in Canada so she doesn’t know when she’ll get to see her grandchild. Awful, isn’t it?

Anna Eh? Three of your grandchildren are dead. Wouldn’t you rather they were alive, but living in Canada?
Shirley: Oh honestly Anna, you take offence to everything.
Anna: Maybe, but you could try to be more sensitive.
Shirley: I don’t know what I’m supposed to say to you. That’s why I don’t say anything.
Anna: You could try to empathise, or apologise, or remember what I’ve been through.
Shirley: For how long?
Anna: Forever.
Shirley: Forever?!
Anna: Yes, you’re supposed to be sensitive forever. Because I will be sensitive to this topic forever.

Conversation 2: Mike is Anna’s Colleague

Mike: I’ll be off on paternity leave soon.
Anna: Oh right, congrats. Exciting times.
Mike: Yeah my wife’s 3 days overdue, she’s so fed-up now, I don’t envy her.

Anna: I do.
Mike: Pardon?
Anna: I envy your wife. I have lost three children.

Conversation 3: Simon is Anna’s Brother

Simon: Ok, you’ve crossed the line, you’ve gone too far!
Anna: I have?
Simon: Yeah, I’m really angry. You can’t talk about my children that way, about not wanting to see them! They’re your nephews!

Anna: Your anger is valid? Mine isn’t. Your children should be respected? Mine shouldn’t. Your nephews – my children – are precious too. 

Conversation 4: Marie is Anna’s Aunt

Anna: My son died.
Marie: <silence>
*Three months later*
Marie: Would you like to come over to celebrate a family occasion?
Anna: No thank you, Aunt Marie.

Anna: I once wanted to celebrate my child with you, but not anymore.

Conversation 5: Maxine is Anna’s Friend

Maxine: So when can you start trying again?
Anna: Hmm, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Maxine: You have to be positive! You can’t be sad forever.

Anna: Please tell me, which one of your children could you be without?
Maxine: Oh, I’m sorry. Stupid comment. Tell you what, do you want to speak to my neighbour’s sister’s dog’s girlfriend’s owner? She’s been through what you have! Although I should mention, she’s now pregnant.
Anna: No thank you, it does not help to know that this random acquaintance of yours is pregnant.

Conversation 6: Richard is Anna’s Uncle

Richard: So when are you and Jack having children?
Anna: Err, I don’t know, my work…
Richard: Oh yes! You’re a “career woman.” There’s more to life, you’re not getting any younger!

Anna: …my workplace has really good private mental health cover, so we’re working through the trauma of our previous losses.

Moral of the story? Don’t be a Dick, I mean, Richard. Obviously.

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(1) Comment

  1. Rhi says:

    I love this. I know some people won’t like it, or will perceive themselves in the characters you’ve portrayed, but I think it is important to know what damage their passing comments could cause, what the next sentences in the conversation would be if you (or any loss mum) were brave enough to tell people the bruth. People don’t get it, and they squirm away if they find themselves in a position of awkward or uncomfortable truths which usually (in my experience) results in the loss mum shutting down, holding back and ultimately losing again.

    Good for you Anj, good for you xx

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