I took a breath and said "well", then I said "I have two that are older" (it makes them sound geriatric). "They are 27 and 24 years old". "Oh" said the asker. "Then" said I, "I have a teenager who is 15. And I have another child who unfortunately died"
I messed that up didn't I! He unfortunately died.
The asker didn't say anything about me looking too young to have children in their mid twenties. That is usually the next thing that is said. Instead she went for the I'm sorry response. Her unexpected response blew me off my train of thought because it's not what people normally say. Unless they are a bereaved parent too. I looked at her sideways and said "thank you".
I told her that his death was fairly recent so then she wanted to know how old he was and when he died, so I explained his story, adding the details of the extra chromosome, and about his birth defects, and his struggle to live, and the complications of an extended stay in a germ laden environment, and how that complicated things further. She seemed sympathetic, and commented that it sounded like he really fought to stay. She also said that it must have been so very hard on our whole family.
I took another plunge and asked her if she had also lost a child and she said "yes". She told me about her son who was diagnosed with a fatal condition at 20 weeks, she said that she delivered him at 22 weeks, and that he was stillborn. I asked more about him and asked his name, because I now know that everyone has a name for their child. People who haven't been there will probably ask "did you name him?" It made me want to cry when she said his name, who knows how often she would get to say his name. I told her Thomas' name too.
I told her about the support that I get from all over the world in blogland. She told me that her mother in law was the person she talked to most (her mil had experienced significant grief and knew the value of an open chat)
Sometimes when you take the plunge it pays off, in that you don't go crashing straight the bottom. Even when you fill your pockets with rocks of statements like "Unfortunately he died"
Goodnight Thomas, if you see Ryan anywhere up there, tell him that I met his mum, and we talked about you both.