"And after that, I figured out that any name that comes from Hebrew will indeed be the same in both English and the Old Country language..."
I had just explained how hard it was to find a name for Monkey, what with all the constraints we had imposed-- one of them being that the name sound the same in the two languages that were to be native to her,-- and the after that in the sentence was strategic. Deliberate. And painful. Out to dinner with JD's colleague from two jobs ago and her husband, lovely people, about 23-24 weeks along with their first now. I'd never met her before, and neither of us has ever met the husband. She got back in touch with JD recently, on one of those professional social media networks, and a few messages into the exchange suggested dinner.
I didn't lie. But I did obfuscate. The after that hid the stories of both of my sons' names. The realization came during A's pregnancy, after combing through piles of books and countless online pages. When he died, still nameless, the top two candidate names were from Hebrew. We picked one of them, the one we were leaning towards anyway, before he was born.
When we found out the Cub was also a he, I just wanted to go back to that Hebrew name well. JD wanted to look wider. In the end, we came back to it, and found one that couldn't have been more perfect for the Cub as an individual, but also for remembering and honoring his brother.
The after that covered that whole story. Or maybe it contained it, but it felt more like it was covering. And it was only one of about five times that evening JD and I didn't lie about our middle child, but neither did we invoke him out loud. At one point, the story of JD's best friend from childhood came up, the friend who died tragically young, and in whose honor we were looking for a name that started with an "A" for our son. This last part? We didn't bring it up. I think that was the point in the evening when I stared at the table for a while, missing my son and feeling shitty.
I unloaded, some, on the way home. They are lovely people, and we ended the evening with plans to keep in touch and to meet up again in a bit. And along with the sadness and the missing, the mastery with which the both of us, in perfect concert and without previous agreement, carefully sidestepped any mention of A was bugging me.
"Well, did you think we should've talked about him the first time we see them, and with her being pregnant?" JD asked.
And that's the rub. I like them, see. And they are just starting to form this image of us, the image I know is incomplete because, duh-- they think we have two children. I am not ashamed of my dead son. I love him, and I don't want to hide him. There was a time when I wanted everyone to know that he existed, that he was loved, that he is still loved. Now I have come to a place where when casual acquaintances don't know about him, I don't sweat it. These people though... Did I mention that they are lovely? And that we will likely see them again? So yeah... I want them to know.
I could get on my public policy high horse right now and talk about how health care providers should talk a lot more about dead babies, and about how if that was the case it probably wouldn't feel like talking about my dead son to a pregnant woman I am seeing for the first time is verbotten. But public policy isn't the point here. The point, I think, is that as things stand it didn't feel right to talk about him, but neither did it feel right not to.
And so I will say here what I said that night to JD-- we did the best we could in that particular situation, but I think I get to be sad about it.
If it's been a while for you, what do you want people you meet now to know about you? What do you want them to know about your reproductive history? If you are at the beginning of this journey, looking forward (if you can) what do you think you will want people you meet in a few years to know?