Originally published at Quora.com, in response to the question, “What would you rather not know?”
Almost four years ago I became pregnant with my first child. I was excited and happy, and as early as the positive pregnancy test, I was already making plans.
As a single mother by choice, one of those plans concerned arrangements for my child if anything were to happen to me. I have always believed in being prepared, even for things that weren’t very likely.
I met with a lawyer and updated my will. I created a trust, and designated a couple to be my child’s guardians should that be needed. I put a lot of thought into my decision, and I felt confident I had made the right choice in case of my death.
The one thing I never anticipated was that my child would die. My son, Adrian James, was stillborn at the end of our pregnancy.
In the beginning, I was in shock. I wasn’t able to tell most people for almost a week. When I did, I wrote an email and sent it to everyone, including the couple I had chosen before to be the “in case” guardians of my child. And while so many people wrote back immediately, and offered condolences, and came to the funeral, this couple said nothing for almost six weeks. And then they sent a short email, promising to check up on me again soon. And to this day, I have never heard from them again.
To be fair, many people are awkward about loss. It’s generally not spoken about in our culture, and I think that is wrong. But there is a difference between being awkward and being silent. And I would have preferred the most awkward, bumbling statement, instead of hearing nothing.
I learned a lot about human nature in those early days. I learned a lot about people’s experiences, and those who have already dealt with death and grief. I have been pleasantly surprised by people who were previously only acquaintances, who have since become so important to me. And I have been hurt by those who, like this couple, distanced themselves instead of engaging.
When I was pregnant, I chose this couple to be my child’s guardians, in case something terrible ever happened to me. I chose them, because I valued our relationship, and because I thought they were the kind of kind people I wanted in my child’s life. And now I know differently.
And I realize, when I look back at these moments with pain, that the thing I wanted least to know, was the true value behind the relationships that seemed valuable to me. Because it wasn’t what I thought it to be. And that kind of knowledge is quite hard.
The death of my son taught me who people in my life really were, and that is knowledge I would rather not know.
Adrian’s Story: Adrian’s Chronological Story
Miranda’s Chronological Story: Miranda’s Story
Special Topics: People & Relationships
Resources Page: Resources Blog for Resources After Loss
Miranda’s Blog: The Phone Call you Never Expect to Receive; Supporting a Loved One After the Loss of a Child