Blending into the Background with a Flashing Neon Sign

Yesterday, while in the waiting room for Calder's surgery, I saw a woman I recognized from Tisdale.  I immediately avoided eye contact.  I didn't want to talk to anyone.  I thought maybe she wouldn't recognize me. 

Within a minute she spoke to me.  Her daughter was in for surgery as well and was just a bit older than Calder.  She and her husband were sitting 3 chairs down.  Our kids were on the verge of playing together, but somehow I thought I would be able to blend into the puke colored walls.  

She was super outgoing and friendly.  She said, "you are Jordan right?  I don't know if you remember me, but my name is Nancy."  Of course I remembered her.  She was popular, pretty, a great athlete in school and a few years older than me.  I was just hoping she wouldn't remember me.  

This was my first conversation with someone who didn't know about Tripp.

One of the first questions out of her mouth was the typical question any mom asks, "do you have any other kids?"  Have.  Present tense.  I was paralyzed.  I hadn't thought about someone asking me this.  I choked back tears and said, "yes."  Calder IS my only child.  I took a deep breath and asked her the same question back.  She has a younger son.  

At that moment I wanted a flashing neon sign.  I had a younger son too.  His name was Tripp.  He was beautiful and perfect in every single way.  

I didn't say a word about Tripp.  It didn't seem socially acceptable to bring him up.  I didn't want to make Nancy feel uncomfortable.  She was being friendly and I knew if I brought up Tripp she would be uncomfortable.  

Later, I thought I should have told her about Tripp.  Nancy is nice and would have been compassionate.  It also would have helped her understand that I was not trying to be unfriendly and short.  I was just sad.  Any compassionate human being knows what its like to be sad and I know Nancy would have understood.

The last two days Hugh, Calder and I have spent a significant amount of time running errands.  I have seen people I recognized and instead of making eye contact and saying "hi", I have done my best to blend into the background.  Other times, I have wanted to wear that flashing neon sign so that everyone around me would know I had 2 sons.  


  1. There will be a day when your emotions are not at the forefront where you can tell people about your two sons. Tripp cannot be denied or forgotten. Just like Calder, you will share stories about your time with Tripp and smile. He is a precious memory.

  2. Your emotions are so raw and that is totally normal. Everything you are feeling is normal. You will cross many "firsts" and each time you will need to meet them with renewed strength and/or apprehension...and that's normal. But you don't feel normal and that's normal. Have faith...pray daily and know that others will continue to pray for you and your family in the days and weeks ahead. You will not be forgotten. Allow others to support you and cry with you. I feel your pain and know that the disbelief that this happened to me is painful. The monkey chatter is relentless but close your eyes and turn you eyes to look down behind your cheek bones. Focus on that helps to calm the mind...breathe slowly. Lots of hugs today and many tomorrows! Bonnie S.

  3. Jordan, when you're ready, I have a book for you to read if you are interested. It is about one woman's journey after the loss of her son, and all of the emotions she has gone through in the years since she lost him. It's actually written by one of my colleagues. Let me know if you want to know more.



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