First Time Being Called Twins

I decided, on a whim, to rip another band-aid off.

When the triplets had been home for a week, we took them for a pediatrician appointment.  After the appointment I told Doug we had to take them somewhere, anywhere in public.  I didn’t want it to be that scary thing looming in the future and get all worked up over it.  I wanted to face it head on and be able to say … yes I can take my kids out in public.  So we took them to Target.  Got the job done.

This was just about the same thing.  I wanted to take Logan and Weston out in public … on my own.  Face the first person to call them twins.  And you know what?  I did it and I’m glad it’s over.  One more check next to a “first after Owen’s gone.”  The Wal-Mart cashier was the first person to ask if they were twins.  I replied kindly “No, they are triplets.  Their brother is with their Father.” (great suggestion by a reader!)  She smiled and went about checking me out.

That’s it?  She bought it that easily?  Can’t she see how much it hurt me to say that?  Can’t she tell that I’m a mourning mother?  I feel so different … I must look different.  It hurt that it was over that easily.  She accepted it so gracefully and that was it.  I wanted her to ask more.  But why would she?  I gave her a perfectly logical answer.  From her point of view, there wasn’t anything more to ask.

The next time someone called the boys twins … I wasn’t as graceful.  The cashier at Menard’s asked if they were twins.  I replied the same … but then found myself rambling.  She made a comment on having three graduations one day.  That’s when I said, “No, we’ll only have two.  Their brother just passed away.”  She felt just horrible.  I felt worse for making her feel bad.

Here I am trying to cope … and having an ok day.  At the mention of my Owen, I have brought an ugly gray cloud to someone else’s world.  I have burdened a complete stranger with the ugliness of mortality.  Reminded that her that someone’s worse nightmare actually comes true.

I’ve learned that it might just be better to have it slip by.  It’s a way of protecting the innocent.  Why bear my sole to a cashier and make them feel like an idiot for making small talk?  Why not let them live in happiness for just a while longer?  That’s where I sure wish I was some days.  Still being naive and thinking that life is full of happy, warm and lovable babies.  Having no idea that the grasp of death is all too close, even to a 6 month old.

I’m sure there will be days when I need to talk about it.  My awkward conversation with the a stranger might happen again … and that will be ok.  But I think I’m more comfortable with the smiling and nodding – knowing deep down that they really have no idea.  I wish this pain on no one.

It’s so unnatural for me though.  As you can tell, I bear my heart out to those who are willing to listen.  I speak what is on my mind, even if it hurts.  I find comfort in words and expression.  I hate having to try to be someone else than who I am.  I’m loud … so when I have to watch what I say, I feel odd.   I don’t like it.

I hope Owen knows that I do this to protect others.  I hope he doesn’t think I’m trying to belittle what has happened or that I’m trying to forget him.  It physically hurts.  My scarlet letter to bear for the rest of my time on this earth.  Deep down I know he’s not even worried about me anymore.  Heaven is a place of true happiness and I hope he’s enjoying every minute.  He’s not worried about what is happening here in the life of humans.  He is in the lap of God, knowing nothing but love and warmth.  I don’t want him thinking about me … I want him to be at peace.  He deserves it.

Love, Mel


  1. If anything, I think your encounter at Menard’s– although perhaps not as graceful as you would have liked– might remind the cashier of the importance of looking beyond the superficial. That there’s often more to the story than appearances let on. No, it’s not her fault (how could she have known?), but perhaps as a result, she will try to be more sensitive to others’ situations. Maybe she’ll ask different questions. If she’s someone who prays, maybe she’ll offer up some prayers for your family. Maybe one day you’ll have the chance to share more with her.

    Having sort of walked this road with you (via your blog) has reminded me that there’s always a story behind a story. There’s more there than what we see.

    You’re helping plant seeds. Seeds of faith and love. Your opening your life up to us has changed lives, has been an incredible witness to faith. This can’t take away the pain of mourning the death of a child, which no parent should have to endure. But you’ve planted seeds in people and in places you might not know, and perhaps will never know.

    This is, by far, one of my favorite and one of the most powerful prayers:

  2. Mel,

    Again and again my heart breaks for your family. You are so brave to be taking on so much so fast. I am sure that Owen still cares about what you are doing and is beaming with pride for his strong mama. Remember it’s okay to give in and cry and be mad and what to just talk without anyone telling you what they think. In the book “heaven is for real” pastor Todd burpo’s son was on the operating table near death and he yelled at God and asked why him? Even pastors get their time to scream and be mad so should you. Even though his son lived his brush with death left an amazing story about heaven in the eyes of a child. I would recommend it.
    Hang in there warrior, you’re the strongest person I have ever come across. God bless you and may each day bring you a little more peace.

  3. I lost twins at 5.5 mos pregnant and then got pregnant with my son 4 mos later. Everytime someone asked me if he was my “first” my stomach flipped. How could I deny their existence, their sacrifice which sent my son to me? It felt so uncomfortable to answer yes because although he is my first on earth, he has a big brother and a big sister watching over him in heaven. Sometimes I would explain and sometimes I wouldn’t. It all depended on how I felt. Now when I’m asked, I almost always answer yes. Though my pain is still there, as time goes on you find a way to live in it. This is going to get easier. I won’t say you will hurt less, but you will get better at it. Much love to you…

  4. Melissa: Your grief and pain give you the right to say and clarify they are triplets when asked. I lost my Nathan 4wks before delivery, and his two other brothers survived. The funeral was hard as I was coping with so many emotions, two babies in the NICU, one with brain damage(Noah), his identical. And having two older children to help understand the loss of their brother. My spouse after God was my only true comfort. He mourned with me. The first outing was “Wal-Mart”, I was told “twins, how cute”, my husband said “No, triplets we lost one right before delivery”, we heard every time “so sorry for your loss”, finally one day I had the courage to say the same speech my hubby would say. In time I started to heal the loss of my Nathan, and even felt guilty for this when time went on and I did not cry just thinking of my life of how it was suppose to be or could have been. Each day I asked God why? I had grieved two other babies before my Nathan so I was angry, but told myself I would not allow myself to become bitter. One day I was upset with myself for wanting to have more kids because if we would have not had any more then perhaps we would have never experience the pain & grieve my husband and I had experienced with the loss of our babies. Then I realized that God does “gives and takes away”. I realized my children were not my children but his and that they were a gift form him. With that I started healing and have continued to heal after nearly 2 years this month. I can’t tell you why you and your husband had to go through this but I can tell you God is with you both and even in the darkest hours he is there. Holding you, and lifting you so you can be stronger more and more every instant. He is a merciful God and a God that does not forsake his children even though through the storm it may feel and seem like it. My pain of loosing a child & my experience of having a special needs child has helped me talk to others that have similar experiences. You and I will never know why things had to happen but our Faith teaches us that one day we will all be together and until then we will have to be patient. Know that God gave you Owen for a short period of time on earth but Heaven is for eternity. I imagine the day I get to hold my Grace, Adam and Nathan. I want you to know that you are a strong woman and that I am blessed to have you as a friend even though it’s through the SEWMOT group and Facebook. Please call me at any time I am here for you. Even if it’s 3:00am or 11:00pm I am here to listen and support you. let your husband know my husband is there for him as well as man can deal with grief differently then us woman.
    God Bless.
    Darling Sharpe

  5. Oh, I feel your pain and it sucks! I had twin boys and lost one of them. (My son actually died on the day your triplets were born.) I wanted to shout “He’s a twin, ” whenever someone would say what a cute baby. That feeling has passed with time. Now, when I take all 3 of my kids out, I get a lot of “Wow you have your hands full.” I have learned to smile and say “Yes I do” but really I want to say “I would give ANYTHING to have them fuller” I hate having to watch what I say in order to spare others but I have learned it is just easier. It took awhile for me to realize that my normal is what has changed not everyone elses. I felt like if I found I new normal by not acknowledging I had twins my son would somehow be forgotten or it would be like he had never lived. I now know that it not true. It took me awhile to learn the lesson that life goes and more importantly it is okay. We talk about my son very openly at home and with people who know us. He will never be forgotten because the people who loved him will never forget him.
    You have done an amazing job of sharing Owen’s story, I know that the people who love him(which along with your family and friends is everyone who reads or has read your blog) will never forget him. Those are the people that know Westen and Logan are triplets not twins. And for me, those are the people that matter. It took me some time to realize this.
    I want you to know that your story has touched me in so many ways. I’m so sorry about your loss, it is a pain that no parent should ever have to feel. Your words have helped me continue to heal. I pray you continue to heal as well.

  6. Love you Mel. Take it easy on yourself. Owen knows what is in your heart. Tomorrow is a new day mamacita.

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. I want Owen to come back! I’m sure the cashier didn’t know what to say – that’s why there was an awkward silence. Not the best way to handle it – she was trying to be friendly and start conversation and had no idea what you are going through. You’ll have a lot of people that mean well and will ask you about the twins. It’s ok to tell them this is a hard time for you – then they can be more sympathetic to what you are dealing with. When a mother loses a child there is a hole that never mends. Owen would want you to love life and live life without him, even though it hurts tremendously. I’m a mother of four children (10, 7, and twins that are 4). All the time I’m people say, “You’ve got your hands full”. I reply, “Better full than empty” or we make a game out of it. A friend of mine (who has 5 children – two sets of twins – NATURALLY) adds a dollar to their fun jar whenever someone makes the “You’ve got your hands full”. When the jar is full they use the money to go out for icecream or to a movie. Then the kids see it as a fun game and like it when people make that comment.

    I hope you find strength in the love and support of those around you. You will love and appreciate your children even more because of this challenge. God will help you through this!

  8. I was pregnant with triplets, lost one very early so then I had twins. I also have had multiple miscarriages. This was along time ago when I was told get over it and try again. It seems that grieving is more acceptable now. I get reminded of all this at that yearly check up we all love……they refer to the twins as surviving triplets, and it was my 5th pregnancy. I still get a twinge even after all this time. It’s much harder for you having just. lost a 6 month old son. I think you’re handling the twin issue remarkably well considering that it’s been such a short time. since Owen passed. You’re out and about, getting some normal activities back into your day-even tho it is a not normal. .Time will help make it easier. I think you are very strong and brave!! I continue to pray for healing , and I look for signs of Owen. Orange is a very popular color this summer, he would have liked that.

  9. I am not sure why I am even commenting to be perfectly honest… I have NO answers and no idea what to even say. Usually I would think it was best to not say anything at all because I do not want to make what I say even harder on you. … You do not know me from Adam, but I can tell you, you have absolutely no need to worry about making someone else uncomfortable. Its kind of heart breaking to even think of a grieving mother thinking of that… Owen is real. He is as real as the other 2 boys. He was and is still here and loved. He should be talked about. To complete strangers. Just because he is gone does not mean that you can not be a proud mother. … I can not even fathom the emotions and thoughts… yours are something like I would imagine mine would feel like if I were in your shoes. Sometimes something happens that seems bad to someone we love but it inspires us to make different choices in our own lives.

  10. Mel-Your journey of loss & healing is helping someone. It may be helping you today too. Those people you randomly encounter are not random at all. They are put into your life to either strengthen you or them. They may also be going thru some sort of loss or regret right then too. That encounter may have been necessary for them to reflect on the fact that there are others who are hurting & we all need to be AVAILABLE sometimes just to listen. Hugs to you.

  11. After losing my 6 week old daughter, I felt the same awkwardness. when people asked me if I had kids I would say yes, I have a daughter in heaven. Yes it made people uncomfortable, but for my own sake I felt like I had to acknowledge her. and yes it made for some really uncomfortable moments. my husband would answer differently and would simply say no, because he didn’t want to get into it. when I became pregnant with my second daughter it was even harder because people would always ask me if it was my first baby. how could I lie? I mean it wasn’t my first. So it made for a lot of uncomfortable moments, but most people handled it with grace. I had to tell them for my own sanity. now days, I don’t mention my daughter in heaven when asked how many kids I have, unless I know the person really well. because I have gotten to the point of knowing my daughter knows I remember her and acknowledge her. do whatever feels best for you in the moment. you can try to have a speech planned, but sometimes it doesn’t come out that way. it is all part of the grieving process. hang in there. I know you don’t know me, but if you ever want to chat or need someone to listen that has lost a baby, please feel free to message me.

  12. I don’t know you personally but I feel by reading that we have similar personalities. And I have to say–stay true to yourself. If you need to correct an innocent bystander, correct them. If you need to acknowledge your dear Owen, do so freely! It brings tears to my eyes, your struggle, your daily “firsts”. Those are hard enough & now you’re trying to take on the feelings of strangers who cross your path. You’ll touch those strangers with your words, I’m sure, so if you needs to tell people about your sweet Owen, let it fly!! You’ll feel better rather than leaving your thoughts & feelings stifled!

  13. I am another person you do not know. I have followed your heart ache since the first post and some days I ask myself why I clicked on the blog link at all, but mostly I know it is because you were supposed to come in to my life. Your strength amazes me and reminds me everyday how blessed I really am. Owen knows what you are feeling inside and he watchs over you and knows his mom is a warrior too!

  14. What I find amazing when something like this happens is how many others have gone through the same thing. When I had a miscarriage, all of a sudden many people I knew were telling me they had gone through the same thing! It still hurts, but you realize that you aren’t the only one. God didn’t have something against you. I agree with everyone else….do what feels right. Be yourself and no one else. If you want to scream that the boys are triplets then do that! People will get over it, and while innocence is important, the honesty of reality is important for us too. I think you are amazing for trying all these things so soon. Also, I believe Owen is watching you and all his family and looking out for you. He has not forgotten where he came from either!
    Lot’s of love and prayers,


  15. Mel– you are totally an inspiration to anyone– daily I find myself thinking of you when I am dealing with my own little issues– (and thinking how selffish I am being). You are SO STRONG- it honestly amazes me. I find so much strength in you. I heard this song on the radio last night and thought of you– its about how God never gives you more than you can handle and in every situation he is there ready to hold you up if you dont feel strong enough. He gives you all the strength you need for each day– take comfort in knowing that you too are being protected and watched- by both Owen and God.

    Strong Enough- Matthew West
    You must
    You must think I’m strong
    To give me what I’m going through

    Well, forgive me
    Forgive me if I’m wrong
    But this looks like more than I can do
    On my own

    I know I’m not strong enough to be
    everything that I’m supposed to be
    I give up
    I’m not stong enough
    Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
    Lord right now I’m asking you to be
    Strong enough
    Strong enough
    For the both of us

    Cause I’m broken
    Down to nothing
    But I’m still holding on to the one thing
    You are God
    and you are strong
    When I am weak

  16. Mel,
    I know that was hard for you to do, I mean how do you not say they were triplets, I would want to scream that to everyone to. How do you not mention Owen, just because he is gone doesn’t mean you can’t talk about him, I would scream his story I would let everyone know what a beautiful baby he was the 6mo that he was on this earth. Just know that god doesn’t do things to mean wrong. God has defenitely gave you the strength to do everything you’ve done so soon and so strong. Evrytime I come on your site to look for a new blog, my stomach feels weired, but its because I know that whatever I am about to read is going to touch me, I know its going to just hurt me as much as I’m sure it hurts you. You are a strong beautiful mother of tirplets and I don;t think you should ever have to say its just twins. God bless you and your family!!!!

  17. He knows. He knows how much you love him, and miss him, not matter how many times you tell that to another person. I still struggle (almost a year later) about how to answer this question about how many children I have. Over time, you will figure out what works for you. At first, I felt guilty that if I didn’t acknowledge Mikayla, and that I needed to tell people to validate her brief life. I no longer feel that way, and tell the story mostly to those that I think I might see in the future. Those that I won’t see again, I just say something that doesn’t necessarily exclude Mikayla and Chase but answers the question still. But remember, you have to do what is right for YOU. I hate that as grieving parents we must feel that by bringing up our children in Heaven we are causing someone else pain. Your job is to take care of yourself in the next days, months, years. I don’t know if it will ever feel “natural” but in time you will find what feels right for you. I am proud of you for facing this fear though. I find that the anxiety leading up to these big steps along the grief journey is worse than the actual event itself. Hugs to you Mel.

  18. Mel-

    I’ve been reading your blog for sometime now; and even though I don’t know you personally, I feel as though I know you through your words. And although I’ve never felt the pain of losing my own child, we unexpectedly lost my 3 yr old nephew to a house fire about 20 years ago. I was only 16 at the time and it really shook my faith and belief in God. I kept asking why him, why us, why not someone old who had a full life and was sick? I didn’t know they answer then and I still don’t know now. It took me many years to come to terms with his passing and even now, 20 years later, I still think of him often, talk about him often and remember the short time we had with him. I wonder what he would have been like, what he would have grown up to be as a man. I know now, that I will see him one day again; and just hearing your words about Owen has made me feel like I have more peace with Jimmy’s passing. Your words, strength and faith have been incredibly inspiring for me. Every time I see orange…whether it’s at Fleet Farm or passing an orange car or seeing one of my son’s wearing and orange shirt I think of you, Owen and your family. I say a little prayer and hope you are having a good day. Never think you are bringing an ugly gray cloud on someone for mentioning Owen-they probably just don’t know what to say and don’t want to upset you. He’s your son and you have every right to talk about him as much as you want to whether it’s friend, family or complete strangers like us here reading your blog every day. I want to thank you for touching my life and being such an inspiration to me and others. I know Owen is with you every day in spirit and as your guardian angel just as I feel Jimmy is still with us. I can bet that Owen is awfully proud of his warrior mama! Much love and hugs!

  19. Mel,
    I don’t profess to know what you are going through since I myself have never lost a child…but this is just an idea…take it or leave it. What if when people ask if they are twins you just say, “No, actually they are triplets”. If God compells the person to ask where the 3rd child is – then maybe God knows that this person needs to hear your story, be reminded of how fragile life is. If they do not ask, then you can take a moment knowing that your Own will always be there in some way. Do not think that you should not share your story. Look at what sharing it has done to people like me (and so many, MANY others!)! I hug my kids tighter, say more prayers of thanksgiving, and remember that instead of dreading night time feedings I should be thankful for them! The dark cloud does initially hit when hearing Owen’s unfortunate story – but it also is a great life lesson, and also a reminder of what faith in God can get someone like you through! You don’t need to shield the world of the pain you feel, of your experience. God is speaking through you…let Him be heard!

  20. Some day, when you have had your time to grieve, you will be able to talk about him with strangers in a way that will not bring them down but bring them strength. Until then, do what you want to do and say what you want to say. Don’t worry so much about others. If anything it teaches them compassion and sympathy.

    Maybe you could try saying, “Actually they came in a package of three…their brother is in Heaven now acting as their guardian angel.”

    My heart weeps for you. Your family is in my prayers.

  21. Melissa I hope someday that you think about publishing everything you have written here. It is beautiful, graceful, heart breaking, touching, thought provoking …… Hopefully it will help you to heal in time and I know it has touched all the people that read it. You have made me a better mother!

  22. Melissa,

    Reading your posts bring back so many familiar feelings of when we lost our 6-week old son, who passed away 16 years ago on 6/7. Every single time I panic – if I don’t say three am I not acknowleding Preston? Does he know? Is he upset with me? I decided that I tell whom I deem ‘worthy’. I guess this just helps me when I have to tell someone ‘two girls. And I always send a silent little prayer to my son, he is never forgotten. Someone also recently asked me if I still think about him. I was astounded – I think of him every single day. It will get easier to get through the days but don’t ever feel bad for acknowledging Owen (even at the expense of someone else’s discomfort – they will get over it).

  23. Yesterday I decided to stop at Old Navy because I wanted to wear an orange shirt to my daughter’s softball game. Her team’s colors are orange and black and, quite honestly, we only have 3 or 4 games left in the season. But, for some reason, it became vitally important to me to have an orange shirt to wear. I walked in Old Navy and it seems orange is the color of the summer. Adorable dresses, shirts, tank tops, even an orange and white striped skirt circa 1970s. I walked around trying to decide which to buy – because I wanted them all! Then, that little voice inside my head kept saying, “Why? Why do you feel the need to get an orange shirt this late in the season? Why is it such a big deal?” I walked out of Old Navy without anything. Today, I understand. I’ve thought about you and your boys and Owen many, many times since discovering your blog. I might have walked out of Old Navy yesterday without anything; but tomorrow (maybe even later this afternoon) I’m heading right back and going to buy something orange (maybe even more than one something). And yes, I’ll wear orange for this mom’s support of her daughter’s Orange Crushers softball team; but really, we’ll know that it’s for your angel.

  24. That is so hard. After we lost our twins I really struggled when people would ask me how many children we had. My answer now is we have two living children. If they want to know more I tell them and if not I just let it go. It hurts every time but after two and a half years it has gotten easier. Here is a blog I wrote about it

    I think if I was you and someone asked I would say they are triplets and their brother is with Jesus. Then people wont assume that you will have 3 children graduating one day and if you want to talk more about it you can because after all they asked. I say share his story with everyone that asks if you want to and if one day you don’t it is okay too. Owen is your son and it is okay to talk about him! I am praying for you!


  25. This made me cry…. I can’t compare to your pain in any way but can understand having to hide truths. My childrens father decide to leave after 10 years and has not even spoken to my boys in almost a year and has not seen them in 2 years. When people tell me how much my son looks like his father, I simply smile. There is so much more I want to add about how much it hurts me and my son that he does…. but I don’t because I don’t want to make them sad. I don’t want to make them suffer for his stupidity. It’s the closest thing I can think of to try to understand what you must be feeling…

    Mel, you have been through something so tragic, and hurtful…. if you are having a bad day and you need to say more about Owen, simply because it’s what is in your heart that day, you mustn’t feel bad. I work in the public, as a cashier for years and in customer service. I love when people open up to me and share their stories. If they tell me things that break my heart, I pray for them, and then I pray for my own children so that they may continue to be blessed by God. I have learned by my customers not to take life for granted, or the health of my children for granted. I am grateful for each day I have with my boys… they are my world as I am sure you understand. If you came in to the store where I am, and you told me your story, I would feel horrible for your heartbreak and i would probably cry. You would not ruin my day but you would certainly make me take a step back and make me realize how precious life truly is. Mel, you have a right to feel what you are feeling and you have a right to your pain…. You are admirable and strong and sharing your story??? I am not sure that many women, including myself, would EVER have the heart or courage to put those feelings into words that public could read.

    You are still in my daily prayers and will probably always be there. and as far as I am concerned you are one of the most admirable people I have ever known….. 🙂

  26. First off, good for you for getting out there and trying to return to “normal”. You have so much stregth and perseverance I am just amazed by you. I want to thank you again for sharing your story. As many ladies have noted, you may not know those of us who read your blog, but you have made a profound difference in our lives simply by sharing your life with us.
    Also, I was thinking. Some of the ladies had great suggestions of things you could say to people when asked about “the twins”, and I think if you are comfortable with any of those they would be great. I also think that when you have multiples, regardless of whether or not you want or expect it to, it comes to define who you are. Its innate. I have twin girls – I am the twin’s mom – it’s who I am. And the girls almost always travel with me and together. When we split them up and I take one shopping and the other stays home (or whatever) if someone comments on how cute my “baby” is or asks how old she is is, I always feel the need to clarify that she is a twin, and THEY are 7.5 months old. I have had people ignore the “they” and just go on their happy way, but for some reason I feel the need to put it out there. In that sense I get what you are saying about wanting to say more. I always (for some reason) want people to ask when I lead in that THEY are twins. I can absolutely understand why you would want to clarify that THEY are triplets. It is part of what defines you, and it is also part of what defines the boys. You shouldn’t change that for anyone. Unless YOU feel that you want to do.
    Continuing to say many prayers for you guys. I think of you often – Andi is right – Orange is a very hot color this year and my girls have some orange on nearly every day. Owen really would love it! Thinking of you!

  27. YOU are a very strong woman .i lost 2 babies my first passed in my tummy i was 21 weeks the second i was 22 weeks and he lived for 45 mins .it has been 2years for the first passed and 1 since my second one .my heart breaks every single second of every day ,i have 3 children a 17,15,13 and adopting my 11 year old niece so when people say wow you have a f ull house i want to scream and say no i dont and my hands are not full enough .but i know GOD needed my sweet boys for something very special ,and they will never be in pain ad they will always know love and happiness and will be waiting on me when it is my time to go .but you did right he is with his father .i pray for y’all every day ,

  28. I just want you to know that I dedicated todays blog to you. . I doubt that there is anything I can say that someone else hasn’t already said. I just want you to know that to me and I’m sure thousands of others, you are an inspiration. So strong and courageous. I prayed that I along with every mother have the strength and love that you have if we ever need it. I don’t know you but I am sending you and your family love and light. You have made me appreciate every moment with my children and I thank you so much for showing me a light that I didn’t know was there. You will be in my heart.

  29. Melissa and Doug,
    Kurt and I think of your family so much and everything you are going through. It’s not easy by any means but it’s like learning to walk again. Starting out by taking tiny steps. There are still days and moments that we’re taken back to when we lost Jasper and we fall apart all over again, but it’s taken us time to pick ourselves up and press on. I still say that I have 2 children and depending on the situation I know how to reply. Don’t feel bad about the Menard’s guys. A gas station clerk once asked me why I had an angel pin on when it wasn’t Christmas time and I burst into tears and told him that my son died. I felt so foolish but looking back I had every reason to feel the way I did and plus, his question was so dumb anywhy.
    I just wanted to throw this out to you to ponder. I attend a pregnancy and infanct loss support group the 2nd Tuessday of each month at St. Joesph Hospital in Milwaukee. It’s from 7:30-9:30pm. There next meeting is on June 14 and the topic is Hopes dashed- Hopes Renewed. In July they’ll be moving the location to Wauwatosa (Wheaton Franciscan on hwy 100) so some of us won’t have to make such a long commute. If you have any questions you can contact the bereavement phone line 414-447-2473 or please feel free to contact us. Like we’ve said before please don’t hesitate to call us. It wouldn’t be burdening us or stiring up unwanted emotions. I was afraid that I was doing that to my friend Kim after I lost Jasper, but she said that it helped her heal and now I totally get that. Helping others who are dealing with grief is apart of a healing process for us and we want to give others what others gave to us. The other great things is that it’s a way for you to talk about how wonderful your babies are with out other people not getting weirded out and not knowing what to say. Face it. we are proud parents and we want to talk about them. We don’t want people to ignore the topic ,but they do and it’s hard to accept. Our babies rock because they are Angels!! Not everyone can say that.
    You will always have 4 beautiful boys and no matter how you choose to answer peoples questions it will never change your love for Owen. He knows how much he is loved!!
    Much love to your family,
    Rachel and Kurt

  30. I think God will work in you and all the people you meet who ask questions that bring up your sweet Owen. If you feel like talking about him I think that’s ok, you may need to see that a total stranger feels just a sliver of your heartbreak and will keep you and your family in their thoughts and prayers after hearing your story. I love the response of him being with his Father. They are always triplets!

  31. Dear Mel,

    Sometimes things come to me in a flash and this is one of them. How to answer the “twins” question without denying precious Owen or crushing some poor stranger? At the same time, you want to model to Owen’s brothers how to answer the question when they are asked. Something like, “No. They are our surviving triplets. Their brother is with their Father in Heaven and we are so blessed to have had them all. Thank you for asking about them.” That way, you don’t just leave it out there with some stranger feeling the need to comfort you. You will have blessed that stranger with your own peace.

    It will be awkward. It will be uncomfortable. However, it is not your responsibility to shield others. Be kind. Show your strength and peace. Let the rest go.



  32. I am a newer reader of yours and let me first start by reaching out my condolences to you. The pain of loosing a child is something no one else can imagine unless you have been there.

    I lost my first little girl at 9 days old. A year later we found myself pregnant (much to our surprise) with another little girl who is now 9 months old. My true Rainbow Baby and such a blessing. It will have been two years this last January that we lost our first. Often, I am asked….is this your first?? I am not sure why this question is so important but it is always asked anytime someone makes small talk about my daughter. At first I would just nod, which probably seemed rude but I couldn’t bring myself to say “yes”. After some strength, I started to answer “no, we had another little girl who passed away as a newborn”. This always brought on questions and apologies which lead to me feeling like I had to make them feel okay with the news I shared with them. I felt myself comforting them and telling them that it’s okay. Finally, I decided to just simply say yes when people asked. It brought me immense guilt at first because my first daughter is the baby that made me a mother, not my daughter now but it was for everyone’s good. I hated answering all the questions and I hated when people apologized over and over for asking a simple question of “is it your first?”. I secretly apologize to our first daughter in my head each and every time and it stills takes everything in me not to mention her, like I am doing her injustice by simply acting like she didn’t exist to complete strangers. But as you have found very early in the grief process, things like this are just a must. It’s not that you don’t love Owen, it;s not that you don’t believe he is still very much your child as he ever was. It’s just that through all your own grief, you still hold immense compassion for others. Just say what feels right to you. There are people you will feel open enough to tell that the boys are triplets and about Owen, and there are people who you will find will be easier just to nod when they ask if they are twins. There are days where just can’t agree with someone who thinks they are twins, and there are days when you feel it’s best. One day at a time is all you can do.

  33. I go through the same thing every day. I guess it was not so hard for me with the twin question, because though my triplet son was also six months old when he died, he never came home from the hospital. So while people were calling them twins when he was alive I could just happily say no they are triplets there brother is still in the hosptial…which lead to different “I feel sorry for you comments.” Shortly after his death I remember the 1st time someone asked about them being twins. We went to Sonny’s for dinner. My parents were with us and I remember wondering what I would say. When the hostest asked I said “They are triplets” of course then she scans the room looking for the 3rd infant carrior. She asks “Where is the 3rd one.” I was stunned. All I could say was “He is just not with out right now.” Not really a lie. When I am at work I always tell complete strangers all about my angel. I love tellling them about my triplets. I tell them Logan’s story and tell them it is okay not to feel bad for me. Continue to shout his story from the roof top when you are ready!

  34. I agree with others, tell Owens story, shout it from the roof tops! He was here and they are triplets! I have many other triplet parents and triplets themselves in our 3.5 years. One mother always introduces her babies as “surviving triplets” and I met high school girls, triplets that lost a sibling early on and they always tell others that they are triplets NOT twins.

    I love you and pray for you and your family everytime I see orange! Have faith. Your story is a witness to so many of us and you will be blessed through it.

    Sharon Jay

  35. I know exactly how you are feeling. My precious baby girl passed away at 6 weeks old. I dreaded going places because I knew that people would ask me how the baby was. I can’t tell you the people that asked that question. It’s been a year now, at least people doesn’t ask anymore, but people that knows treats you different. I wish I could tell you that it gets easier, it doesn’t but you learn to deal with differently. Please know that I’m thinking of you….

  36. Mel – We are also VERY sorry for your loss, and we will be praying for you and your family! We would like you to know what an inspiration you are to us. The fact that you would consider how you had an affect on another person’s life (having brought an ugly gray cloud to someone else’s world) based on your response – is selfless, loving, and a true display of Christianity! You are an amazing witness to others, and a great example of how to handle the unthinkable! Keep trusting in the Lord! HE WILL get you through this VERY difficult time!! Matthew 11: 28 says ” Come to me all you who are weary & burdened, and I will give you rest.” Love, Jeannine & Brian (Abrams, WI)

  37. Mel,
    Don’t feel you have to hide yourself or not be yourself. Owen was an extraordinary gift, and you have every right to sing him from the rooftops. Your boys are triplets, and Owen gave a great gift to the world and helped save lives. Every one of us who have met Owen through you are better for the experience, and that should include the Menards checker, who probably counted their blessings and said a prayer for you. Keep touching lives with Owen’s story, it makes the world a better place.

  38. Melissa,
    I have told your story to some of my coworkers and friends. When we were at McDonald’s Thursday, I watched you closely and try to follow your lead in response to comments and reactions from other people. I like the response of “He is with the Father.”

  39. Mel,
    I too am espressive and bold. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I have come to realize that this is how God made me. Yes, I will constantly have to learn in my life how and when to temper that. But I have come to believe that God does not want us to be other than how he made us.

    I have been struck lately with the lyrics of an oldie but goodie from Amy Grant…”All I Ever Have To Be”
    When the weight of all my dreams
    Is resting heavy on my head
    And the thoughtful words of help and hope
    Have all been nicely said
    But I’m still hurting, wondering if I’ll ever be the one
    I think I am – I think I am

    Then you gently re-remind me
    That You’ve made me from the first
    And the more I try to be the best
    The more I get the worst
    And I realize the good in me is only there because of who You are
    Who You are…

    And all I ever have to be is what You’ve made me
    Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan
    As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind
    That I only have to do what I can find
    And all I ever have to be is what you’ve made me

    So answer honestly, if that is how you feel at that moment. And, if that day it is just too much to bear, then answer with that AMAZING answer that another reader gave you. It is still the truth. And trust that however you are moved to answer at that moment, it will be exactly right for that situation, for what someone needs to hear. Prayers continue to be sent up for you and your wonderful family!

  40. I had to post on this one because it is something that I have struggled with since I brought my survivors home from the NICU! Huge hugs to you for all of your future outings!!

    And as you said, sometimes it is just easier to smile and nod. But now that my boys are almost 5 they do all of the talking for me. And I don’t care how awkward it makes everyone else feel, it always makes my heart smile when I hear them tell someone that they are triplets and that their brother is in heaven.

    Praying for you and your family as you make your way through this journey!

  41. If you make someone else “uncomfortable,” then consider that the gift of Owen.

    Whenever I read your blog, it makes me sad and “uncomfortable”. And you know what? That’s a good thing. The death of your son is terrible. It is your worst nightmare come true. It is evey mother’s worst nightmare come true. And if it adds to my “burden” for a few minutes, GOOD. It should. It should make me down-on-my-knees grateful that I haven’t experienced this. It should make me more patient with my own children, more thankful more my own good forture. It is Owen’s gift to ME that I remember everything I have.

    So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I know what this gift has cost you and your family. But know that the Gift of Owen continues to give. Every single day.

    God Bless you.

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