Our daughter Tessa died prematurely on March 9, 2007. I think of her a million times a day. I "talk" to her in my head and sometimes at night when I sit outside and see the stars shining, I pick one out and imagine that is her.
We are adopting a 5 year old little girl from China. We are adding the American name Avery to her Chinese name. We plan on bringing her home in late September. Family members keep saying stuff like "Avery is a very lucky girl to be the first granddaughter". They mention her (Avery) as our only child. DH has even done it a couple of times. (I always remind him that Tessa is our daughter also.) I am not mean or pitiful about it, I just say "Tessa is still our daughter even tho she lives in Heaven and not here with us." I don't always correct other family members but the urge is HUGE.
I don't mean to sound like I correct everyone...I just CANNOT have Tessa discounted in any way. I don't bring Tessa up in every conversation. I grieve privately now. I am past feeling guilty for being excited, happy, joyful, crazy happy about Avery...but that one little thing does bother me.
Suggestions on how to tactfully handle this? The people that say these things are very loving, caring, family member that would not intentionally hurt me for the world. I love them and want to LOVINGLY tell them that I need Tessa to not be forgotten.
Congratulations on the addition of a daughter to your family. Avery is indeed very lucky to be joining such a loving and compassionate family.
I think that if you feel compelled to correct your loved ones, then you should. I think that they would appreciate knowing honestly how you are feeling and what you are thinking; they just don't always know how to show their care and compassion. Your family may be taking their cues from your private grieving for Tessa. Perhaps you can involve your family in the ways you remember Tessa so that they can know just how important her memory is to you. I think it is possible to continue to grieve privately while memorializing Tessa in a shared and open way.
First I just wanted to shout out that I am so excited for you about Avery! Congratulations!
Now onto your question, I totally agree with Emmy -- this is your call. If you feel compelled to mention Tessa, then you should.
Personally, I've found that being honest is always best, although I try to not be aggressive because I just feel uncomfortable inside when that happens (and then I think about it and feel badly). My words really depend on whom I'm talking with, and how I'm feeling that day.
I'll just tell you what I say, to give you an example. You'll find your own way to let people know, I'm sure. And this thread might produce the exact words you're looking for (there are a lot of clever people on this board!)
In my case, we were blessed with a healthy child (Emma, now 7) but could not have anymore (4 m/c's). And I'm 43 years (young!). So I tend to get the "Aren't you going to try for more? You still can, you know..." comments.
Now if I don't feel like getting into it (or if the person is a busybody), I say the truth but just a shade of it: "Sadly, we weren't able to have anymore children." Usually they just respond with a little nod and caring smile. No one has ever asked me why.
If I feel comfortable with the person (i.e. close enough to them), I tell them the whole truth: "Sadly, we lost some babies after Emma. I've worked hard on my grief, so it's okay to talk about it." Then we chat about it. And it's amazing what happens! You see, very often I then first learn that the other person lost a baby or two as well -- only she never talked about it, or did anything really constructive about it! I tell her about this board, and other things she can do, to deal with the grief. And she's thankful! Cool, eh?
A final thought, Lisanne, is that if you want a physical reminder for yourself and others, you might want to have an engraving in your home (a plaque), or in your garden (perhaps, on a rock). It might say something like: "In honour of our first child, Tessa" (perhaps more than that). Have it in a prominent enough place, so people can see it. Just be prepared for Avery's questions! DH and I will be doing the same thing one day, when Emma is old enough to understand.
Phew, that's another long one! Sorry! Hope this has helped you.
"Fair and softly goes far."
-- Miguel De Cervantes
hugs. I am so sorry for your loss of Tessa (that is one of my favorite names!). And also congrats on adding sweet Avery to your family. I don't know for sure how to handle it, but love Nicole's suggestions. Maybe say something that you want Tessa remembered as well. Hugs!
I am quite thankful that you are so very excited for us and for Avery becoming a part of our family. I am excited too. I look forward to loving her, and raising her, and letting her know about her big sister Tessa who is her very special guardian angel.
Congrats on adoting!! My son is adopted from Korea and is a joy.
My SIL lost twins at 23 weeks and we still talk about "the boys". She adopted , from Kaz, and her son knows he has older brothers that went to heaven. If you feel strongly, you will probably onely need to mention it once.
I'm so sorry girl! I dealt with a similar issue within my family. I got pregnant in Dec of 06' and lost my son, Phillip, in March of 07'. I fell pregnant again in Dec of 07' and am now expecting a little girl, Samantha in Sept. My cousin Donna, and I got pregnant around the same time. She is due about 3 weeks before me, but because of how high-risk I am we ended up finding out the sex of our babies very close together. Literally, next week is ultrasound #17 and she's had 1.
Well when everyone was trying to "guess" what gender babies we'd be having, my aunt and grandparents realized everyone in our family on the maternal side has a boy first and then girls. No surprise, Donna is having a boy. So when i called my grandparents, my grandpa (86 at the time) answered with "it's a Boy!" and I said "No, it's a girl!" and he said "You had to be different". To which I reminded him I have a son, and three other children (they're all genderless), and it reminded them that "Oh, Kelly should have had a boy already"
I decided to ignore it because only a few of my family members made the mistake of bringing it to my attention, even my aunt corrected herself by saying, "it's not like Phillip isn't your son, it's just Samantha will be the first living child."
Whenever anyone makes a comment I would remind them of her and say, "Ya know, Avery is the second granddaughter." Or small reminders like that.