One fear that I am sure most loss parents worry about is people forgetting or overlooking our children.
I had an incident a few months ago where my grandma was talking about all the children on my husband's side of the family. My husband is one of 4 boys. These 4 boys have produced 4 girls and, in total with Curtis, 2 boys.
So, my grandma was saying to me "How funny that his parents had 4 boys, but almost all girl grandchildren. Only one boy."
I knew she meant the living boy. My nephew.
Not angrily, not upset I said "Well, there is another boy."
"Oh, who?" I could see her calculate his nieces and nephews in her head.
She became visibly flustered and said "Well, oh, well..."
I let her off the hook and changed the subject.
Later, she mentioned the conversation to my mom. (As I had.) She was defending what she said, saying she was just trying to say how funny it was they had a bunch of boys and ended up with only one grandson.
Really, if we look at the conversation it was about what gender the family produces the most of. His parents produced boys. Those boys produced 4 girls and 2 boys. Plain and simple. If we are talking gender, that is what it is.
My mom tried to tell her that she needed to understand that Curtis was always present in our lives and he would always be mentioned.
Even that was off the mark. Yes, what she said in general is true, but at the nuts and bolts of the conversation was how many of each gender Craig and his brothers have had. 4 girls and 2 boys.
Things like this....they don't make me angry. Honestly. At this point, I just more shake my head and as nicely as I can point out what I see to be the truth.
When I don't have to do this? When it is done for me?
Craig's Gram passed away last week after a short illness. She was a neat lady. She had a long, active, fun life. She never was one to dwell on the past, so quite frankly, we don't know much about that life. She was very much in the present. She wanted to talk about the now and the future. She would be asked about the past, the life she had lead in her younger days, and honestly, she didn't mention much about it. She loved her sonbs, grandsons and her 14 great grandchildren. Coming from the background she did, death didn't seem to effect her much. People died, she moved on. Including 2 husbands and countless friends and family. When we lost Curtis, it was the one time people in the family mentioned that she was visibly upset.
Craig's Gram was the only grandparent he got to know. She had been a constant in his life and he was with her many times over her final days. She passed away peacefully after 92 years on this Earth.
There is some amount of perspective when someone 92 dies. Someone who said in her final days that she was okay with dying. She had a good life. She was ready for whatever faced her next. So, we said goodbye. While we are sad she is gone, sad for the neat lady who has left us, we understand people don't live forever. When someone dies at 92 you feel blessed for as long as you had them.
So preparations began for us to say goodbye to her. Selfishly, I started to wonder. Would Curtis be mentioned in the obituary? I wasn't going to say anything. I don't want to cause drama. It wasn't my place, it wasn't my choice.
But I worry. I worry about him being forgotten, being overlooked. I understand (really, I do) that it isn't malicious. But, heck, he is important to me.
I shouldn't have doubted it, I really shouldn't have. But sometimes you wonder. With as many people that seem to brush past the topic or seem to think he isn't "real", you doubt.
Needless to say, he was mentioned. Twice. Once in the "preceded in death by" and the next in the part where it stated "In lieu of flowers, donations in the memory of Curtis...." .
I was, well...GIDDY....when I read the proof of the obituary. I mean, as giddy as one can be when it comes to losing a beloved family member. Not only was Curtis mentioned, but Craig's parents wanted donations to go to the foundation we are a part of that promoted stillbirth research and support.
It meant, and means, so much.
All I had simply wanted was his name mentioned. I didn't expect memorials in memory of Gram to go to the foundation who has supported us so much.
Like I said, when I don't have to remind people, when it is done for me? Amazing.
At her service a few days later, I was listening to the priest talk about Gram. Talk about her going to Heaven. About being reunited with her husbands. With Curtis.
I was not prepared to hear his name. I buried my face into my hands and sobbed. She had never 'met' Curtis. She wasn't at the hospital that day. She never held him. Hearing that they were together, despite where my faith is at, was beautiful.
I was trying to pull it together. Craig put his arm around me and whispered "You weren't prepared for that, were you?"
Had I been prepared, though, it may have not been so momentous. It may have brushed by me. I like that I didn't know, I like that he was mentioned for me without me asking for it. I like that Craig's family thinks enough about our baby boy to make sure he is mentioned. I know they miss him too.
So, we miss Gram. She had a wonderful life. She said she was ready, but no matter the age, when you lose a cool person-- it sucks. It is sad.
In the wake of her death, I have had some amazing moments. And I thank her and her family for it.